CHAMPAIGN – Dr. Kenneth Wilbur Perry, 93, professor emeritus of accountancy at the University of Illinois, died Saturday evening (Sept. 8, 2012) at his home in Champaign.
Prof. Perry was born May 21, 1919, in Lawrenceburg, Ky., to Ollie Townsend and Minnie Bell Monroe Perry. He married Shirley Jane Kimball on Sept. 5, 1942, in Oklahoma. She preceded him in death on Jan. 20, 2005.
He is survived by his daughter, Constance June "Kay" (Linden) Warfel of Tolono; five grandchildren, Elizabeth (Paul) Scott of Monroe, Wash., Jennifer Kimball (Sven
vanBaars) of Gloucester, Va., Andy (Sonia) Warfel of Fort Wayne, Ind., David (Abby) Warfel of Bloomington and Kate Warfel of Tolono; and seven great-grandchildren, Catherine Scott of California, Harrison O'Neil and Libby Scott of
Monroe, Wash., Keller and Evelyn Warfel of Fort Wayne, Ind., and Sam and Joe Warfel of Bloomington. His sisters, Maxine Hawkins and Pauline Sims, both of Lawrenceburg, Ky., and his brother, Gary Perry of Louisville, Ky., also survive him. He was preceded in death by his parents; his sisters, Christine Giles and Jean Springate; and his brothers, Gus Perry, Ollie T. Perry Jr. and Robert "Red" Perry.
Prof. Perry attended Eastern Kentucky University on a football scholarship, earning a bachelor's degree in business in 1942. He went on to earn a master's degree in
economics from Ohio University in 1949 and a doctoral degree in accountancy from the University of Illinois in 1953. He was a certified public accountant (CPA).
Prof. Perry served in the U.S. Army from 1942 to 1946, and then served in the U.S. Army Reserve, retiring with the rank of colonel in 1972. He was a graduate of the U.S. Army Chinese Language School and Command and the
General Staff College.
While attending Ohio University, he owned and operated, with his father-in-law, a small neighborhood grocery.
He began his university teaching career in 1949 at Berea College in Berea, Ky. In 1950, he began his doctoral studies at the UI College of Business, where he taught for 40 years. He was a visiting professor at the University of Virginia,
Northeastern University in Boston, the University of Kentucky, Florida A&M University and Parsons College.
He was a member of the Illinois CPA Society, the American Accounting Association, the American Institute of CPAs, the National Association of Accountants, the National
Association of State Boards of Accountancy, the President's Council of the University of Illinois Foundation and the University of Illinois Alumni Association.
Among his awards are the Eastern Kentucky University Outstanding Alumnus Award (1969), the University of Illinois Outstanding Teacher Award (1972), Honorary Soul Brother by Florida A&M University (1972), the Outstanding Accounting Educator in the nation by the American Accounting Association (1974) and the Distinguished Commerce Alumnus of the UI in 1984.
Prof. Perry loved teaching and firmly believed in his students' abilities to learn the materials. He was instrumental in encouraging women and minorities to pursue careers in accounting, and his CPA review course helped many students pass the CPA exam.
While his students regularly achieved top scores on the national CPA exam, including the top two scores in 1968 (out of 16,444 candidates), 1973 (29,668 candidates) and 1985
(67,269 candidates), he was equally happy for all his students, enjoyed hearing from and about them, and credited them for his own success.
While his accomplishments in the field of accountancy are well-known, he was also roundly admired for his ready wit and for his deep admiration and affection for his family, friends, colleagues and students.
He was a member of First United Methodist Church in Champaign and later transferred his membership to Faith United Methodist Church in Champaign.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Ken Perry Scholarship or the Ken Perry Faculty Fellowship, University of Illinois Foundation, Harker Hall, MC-386, 1305 Green
St., Urbana, IL 61801-2962.
Memorial services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 14, at Meadowbrook Community Church, 1907 S. Duncan Road, Champaign. The Rev. Jennifer Warfel Kimball and the Rev. Sven vanBaars will be officiating. Morgan Memorial Home is
providing assistance with arrangements.