Ross Perot, the self-made billionaire from pioneering computer systems and renown patriot who ran twice as an Independent for President, died from leukemia at 89 on Tuesday, 7/9/2019.
He was only 5’6″ tall but his presence dominated everyone in a room. He spoke with convictions of making this country a better place based on the foundations laid out in the Constitution. He truly believed anyone could be anything they desired to be.
Perot founded the Electronic Data Systems Corp. in 1962. Even after he was diagnosed in February, he showed up to work every day in his suit and tie, wearing the American flag lapel pin. He was a true American.
“Describe my father?” Ross Perot Jr., his only son, and CEO of the Perot Group, asked rhetorically in an interview. “Obviously a great family man, wonderful father. But at the end of the day, he was a wonderful humanitarian. Every day he came to work trying to figure out how he could help somebody.”
Morton Meyerson, CEO of Perot Systems said, “Ross was the unusual combination of his father, who was a powerful, big, burly cotton trader — a hard-ass, practical, cut-deals person — and a mother who was a little-bitty woman who was sweet, warm, wonderful. Ross was tough, smart, practical, loved to negotiate. But he had a warm and kind heart, too.” Perot named Dallas’ symphony hall after Meyerson when Perot donated $10 million toward its construction in 1984.
Perot’s strong family upbringing and Texas roots taught him the value of family time with his children. Dinner was served with everyone seated on every night that he was in town. His children remarked how they never wondered if they were loved.
Perot attended Texarkana College and was inducted into the Naval Military Academy on his 19th birthday.
“Ross had an uncanny ability to think about six moves ahead,” said former EDS executive Tom Meurer, trustee of the Perot Family Trust. “He saw things that most people didn’t. It was a sixth sense.”
In 1986, Perot received the Winston Churchill Award for epitomizing the spirit of Britain’s most famous statesman. He was only the third American to receive the coveted medallion, honored for his efforts on behalf of American POWs in Vietnam in the 1960s and for organizing a strike team that rescued two of his EDS employees from an Iranian prison in 1979.
His favorite quote was ‘Never, never, never, never give in.’ And he never did.
His net worth was valued at 4.4 billion dollars, according to the Bloomberg Index. His wisdom and humor were born of home-spun experiences.
Ref. NBC News, dallasnews.com, NBC/Today
Photo courtesy of Bing via usatoday.com