Henry Franklin Perritt Jr.
It is with deep regret that Marks Gray reports the death of Henry Franklin Perritt Jr. Mr. Perritt was a dear friend and valued colleague of our firm for over 45 years. Mr. Perritt passed away March 8 after a valiant seven month battle against cancer. He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Suzanne Clemons Perritt, daughter Felicia Perritt Otterbourg, grandchildren Lindsey Suzanne Otterbourg and Mark Logan Otterbourg, and cousins, and nieces.
Mr. Perritt was born in Savannah, Georgia on August 15, 1934. He was reared, and attended public schools, in Jacksonville, Florida. He was active in Boy Scouts in various capacities from 1944-1955 and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in 1948. He received appointment to the Naval Academy in 1953 but had already entered the University of Florida in 1952 where he remained and earned his undergraduate and legal degrees.
University of Florida accomplishments include: Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity President, Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity member, National Society of Scabbard and Blade, Inter Fraternity Council President, Florida Blue Key President, University of Florida Hall of Fame.
In 1956, he graduated with a B.S.B.A. in Business Administration and was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, Armor, US Army. He entered an executive training program with Citizens & Southern National Bank in Atlanta and entered bank management in 1956. He served the U.S. Army on active duty from 1957-1959. Among many accomplishments were: U. S. Army Armor School Honor Graduate, 710th Tank Battalion S-1; Platoon Leader; Supply Platoon, Adjutant S-1; 17th Armor Group S-1 and S-4, Company Commander, Adjutant; Aide-de-Camp to Commanding General Ft Stewart, Brigadier General E. H. F. Svensson. He was promoted to 1st Lieutenant July 5, 1958.
In 1959, he entered the University of Florida Law School, earning a Juris Doctor degree in 1962. While attending law school, he also joined the Florida Army National Guard, serving for 30 years and retiring as full Colonel in 1989. Among his many commendations were: Meritorious Service Medal, Commendation Medal, Reserve Components Achievement Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Florida Distinguished Service Medal, Florida Commendation Medal, Florida Service Medal, Florida Active State Duty Ribbon, Florida Service Ribbon, Florida Meritorious Service Ribbon, Florida Distinguished Unit Citation Ribbon.
During law school, Mr. Perritt clerked during summers with our firm, then known as Marks, Gray, Yates, Conroy, & Gibbs. He joined the firm in 1962 as an associate, and remained with the firm until retirement in 2007. Upon his retirement, this is what Mr. Perritt had to say about the firm: “Marks Gray is what I always thought a law firm should be. Competent and professional lawyers, with the interest of the client above interest of themselves, and open door for the exchange of information and the training of young lawyers and a collegial atmosphere. I have always felt that when we invited someone to join the firm as an associate that we wanted to select someone who we felt would be with the firm throughout their entire legal career.”
Among many accomplishments and service to the legal profession were: Managing partner Marks Gray 1976-1982, Defense Research Institute Board of Governors, U.S. Supreme Court, International Association of Defense Counsel, Jacksonville Defense Lawyers Association President 1969, Association of Defense Trial Attorneys President 1988-89, Florida Defense Lawyers Association President 1988, founding member Jacksonville chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates, ABOTA Lawyer of the Year, Florida ABOTA Trial Lawyer of the Year. He was a member of Rotary International, Jacksonville Downtown Club, a Paul Harris Fellow. He was a longtime member of South Jacksonville Presbyterian Church. During retirement his passions included the Wolf Laurel Community in North Carolina where he was president of the Property Owners Association, and traveling with Suzanne and his family.
During his funeral service on March 14, 2014, firm President Gerald W. Weedon remembered Mr. Perritt with a touching eulogy filled with details from decades of professional and personal friendship. “It may be a cliché, but Frank Perritt was a lawyer’s lawyer. More importantly, he was a mentor and teacher to at least three generations of lawyers at Marks Gray, the firm he practiced with for almost 50 years. What made Frank unique though was that he had the requisite grace to evolve from mentor to partner to trusted advisor and then to friend. He was all those things to me.”