Kenneth Walter Perry

February 24, 1932April 16, 2019

Kenneth Walter Perry died April 16, 2019, in Dallas, Texas, surrounded by his family. Born February 24, 1932, in Shamrock, Texas, Ken was the son of the late Charles B. and Sunshine Grady Perry. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Mary Dean Sudderth Perry; daughters Martha Ernst (Cliff), and Kathryn Perry; grandchildren Katie Foster Valle (Hector), Rex Mitchell (Tawni), Meghan Isgett-Foster (Carrie); and great-grandchildren, Michael and Gabriel Valle and Mary and Kathryn Mitchell. The middle son of three, Ken was preceded in death by brothers Charles R. Perry and James R. Perry. Ken graduated from Odessa High School. He attended the University of Oklahoma where he received a BS in Mechanical Engineering and was a member of Phi Delta Theta. He was recognized as a distinguished graduate in the College of Engineering in 1999. Following college, he served two years in the U.S. Army as a 1st Lieutenant. Ken’s career began in 1957 as a junior engineer at Cosden Oil & Chemical Company in Big Spring, Texas. His various roles took him to New York City, where he spent five years as a marketing manager and vice president, later returning to Big Spring where he became senior vice president and president. Cosden was purchased by American Petrofina Inc. “Fina” in 1963. In 1980, he moved to Dallas, and was ultimately named president and chief executive officer of Fina in 1986. He also served as vice chairman of the board of Fina. In 1992, Ken joined Nimir Petroleum Company, Ltd., as chief executive officer. Nimir was a Saudi Arabian company with the goal of becoming a worldwide fully-integrated energy company on an accelerated path. It was a start-up company with exciting challenges. He created a strong management team, secured offices around the world, all while creating business opportunities. He travelled extensively with projects in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Romania, Tunisia, Venezuela and Indonesia, completing acquisitions in Sweden, Russia and Colombia. Nimir’s headquarters was in London, England, and Mary and Ken alternately lived in Dallas and London for four years. He retired from Nimir and his professional career in 1996. Ken served as a director of The United States Life Insurance Company, American Petrofina, Inc., Hercofina, Finachem International, American Petroleum Institute, and Ryan Murphy, Inc. He was vice chairman for the National Petroleum Refiners Association, a member of the executive committee of the Society of the Plastics Industry, and chairman and director of Perry Gas Company. Ken was a director and vice chairman of Security State Bank, in Big Spring, Texas, and chairman and chief executive officer of United Commerce Bank, Highland Village, Texas. In 1973, Ken was selected to Who’s Who in Texas. The State of Texas, Office of the Governor, recognized his service as a professional engineer, with the ceremonial Obligation of the Engineer. His professional achievements included his appointment by the Secretary of Energy to the National Petroleum Council and serving as a director for the American Petroleum Institute. He was the chairman and a director of the National Petroleum Refiners Association, as well as a director of the Colorado River Municipal Water District of west Texas. A strong supporter of public service, Ken served as advisory director for the Dallas Business Committee of the Arts, the Boy Scouts of America, Circle Ten Council, as president and director of the Big Spring Chamber of Commerce, director of the West Texas Chamber of Commerce, and president and director of the United Way of Big Spring. In 1971, he was named the Volunteer Industrial Developer of the year by the Texas Industrial Council. He was a board member of the Dallas Symphony Association, and the Dallas Citizens Council. Ken served on the Presbyterian Community Services Foundation as a deacon and an elder of Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church, as well as chairing the church’s Jubilee expansion funding project. Ken further served as an active member of various committees for the University of Oklahoma. Following retirement, Mary and Ken enjoyed travel, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, friends and extended family. They have decades of memories with family and friends at their home in Ruidoso, New Mexico, and at their ranch in Menard, Texas. Ken leaves behind a legacy of faith, integrity and joy. He will be greatly missed and always loved. A memorial service in celebration of his life will be held on May 11, 2019, at 2:30 p.m., at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church, 9800 Preston Road, Dallas, Texas, 75230. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church - music fund; Circle Ten Council of Boy Scouts of America, 8605 Harry Hines Blvd., Dallas, Texas, 75235, or a charity of your choice.


  • Memorial Service Saturday, May 11, 2019


Kenneth Walter Perry

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Michael Klinger

August 22, 2019

I moved to Dallas in 1982 when the jobs were very scarce back home. FINA hired me as an accountant. One day, I got a call to go up to the 20th floor to Mr. Perry’s office where he offered me a position working directly for him. It was an amazing opportunity to learn and to be guided by a truly remarkable individual. I was too young at the time to appreciate how he worked and lived through his guidance; his character; his morality; his humor; and his patience. The only time that he raised his voice to me was when I told him that I was leaving FINA to which he said, “that is the dumbest thing I have ever heard, but I wish you the best of luck.” He was, and always will be, Mr. Perry to me out of respect for a notable leader and a good man that taught me much of what would lead to success in my career.

Emily Fernandes

May 5, 2019

Mary, i was saddened to read Ken's obituary in Sunday's Odessa American. i remember so fondly our trip to Israel with you, Ken, and your cousin Katchie Crews. Didn't we have a great trip!
You two really had a long happy marriage.
I'm still in Pecos. Doug died April 2016 from an aggressive brain tumor. One of our sons lives here and checks on me frequently. The other son is in Wink, not too far.
Sister Martha lives in Killeen; I drive there and then we go on up to Honey Grove where we grew up, After Mama's death in 1998 we've kept the house and try to go several times a year.
Please know that I am thinking of you.
Very sincerely,
Emily Fernandes, Pecos

Jim Bob Carpenter

April 24, 2019

Ken Perry hired me to work for Cosden ( Fina) right out of college in 1979. Good jobs were scarce. He mentored me and taught me a lot about the plastics industry which became a great long term career for me. He had a big impact on my life and will always have a special place in my heart.

Marj Carpenter

April 22, 2019

Ken Perry was a very dear friend. In my reporting days during the big refinery fire in 1976, Ken told me to get back in the office when I tried to slip into the Cosden yard. At another small fire, he refused to let Danny Valdez and me in to cover the story, so we walked up the railroad tracks to get pictures. Once again he told us to get out. I said, "We're not on the refinery land; we're on the railroad tracks." He answered, "And if a train comes, then what?!" And I responded, "We'll jump over onto the refinery's property." We laughed about those stories for years. He was a wonderful friend and a good man.

Tom Hollenshead

April 21, 2019

I did not know Ken well but admired him tremendously. In many ways he reminded me of my own father. First met him in Big Spring 35 years ago and later in Dallas. Kept up with him through business associates and Kathy for several years thereafter. Ken Perry was one of those men you meet along the way that you admire and respect not only as a Christian corporate leader but as a family man and father. One of those men that truly made a difference in the lives of many people. God Bless the Perry family in your loss.

Don Adams

April 20, 2019

Ken Perry, was like a breath of fresh air, to whom ever he came in contact with, and so is Mary Dean. To the working man, he not only offered a hand out, of welcome but a hand up, of encouragement and opptunity.
He was a vital part of that young Cosden Team, "Paul Meek and his Three Musketeers", Ken Perry, Jerry Jenkins, and Reney Brown. Not only did they "talk the talk, they walked the walk". Which was "work hard, but for God sake have a good time".
Thank you Ken, Jerry, Reney and Paul for 34 wonderful years of work and fun.
Don Adams

Jackie Thomas

April 17, 2019

Ken Perry was one of the best bosses and friends I ever had. We befriended each other in Big Spring where I went to work at Cosden in 1962 spending 34 years working together. Including us both transferring to Dallas under the Fina name. We played many rounds of golf, dominoes and gin rummy together. We were both pall bearers in Paul Meeks funeral. A lot of great memories with this terrific, caring person. May he rest in Peace and always be proud of his accomplishments,, family and friends, which were many.