Alumni Profiles

Lew Perry '48

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For Lew Parry '48, his Pi Kappa Phi and Penn State experience was anything but typical. During the summer of 1942, before his freshman year, E. Flower Jones of Jenkintown, recruited Lew to join Pi Kapp.

Committing to join the fraternity meant Lew would be able to live in the fraternity house rather than the dormitories.

 

Lew's time in the house didn't last long, however, because the house was taken over by the Navy V 12 Program during December 1942, as were many fraternity houses at the time. The following spring he was called to active duty in the Army Enlisted Reserves. Soon after,Lew was transferred to the Army Air Corps to be a B-29 Navigator.

 

On his way back from a training program, Lew's flight had to be redirected to Mobile, Alabama. He only spent one night in Mobile, but while he was there he met a young woman named Betty serving donuts with the Red Cross. He got her name and address so they could write to each other while he was overseas.

 

During his active duty, Lew was a navigator on a B-29 flying out of Guam with 16-18 hour missions to Japan and back. He completed 31 missions over Japan before returning to the states. Upon his return to the US, Lew went to Mobile to visit Betty. He
returned to Penn State in the fall of '45 and after spring of '46 spent the summer working in Mobile.

 

Lew and Betty were married in November 1945. They lived in a trailer in the Wind Crest Trailer Camp run by Penn State for returning married veterans. The trailer was made available with the help of Dick Baker '42 who it just happens was also a Pi Kapp Brother. The trailers were located near the current site of Beaver Stadium. The trailer had no running water, a kerosene stove and a 5 amp fuse in the trailer, but the newlyweds still had a great time living there.

The washrooms and the washer/dryer were up the hill at a different site than the trailer, which made for some interesting stories, especially for Betty who had never seen snow prior to her move from Alabama. Lew fondly recalls a specific instance where Betty returned from the washroom in the middle of the winter and she lost her shoes coming down the hill in the snow.
Lew was busy with schoolwork, taking an accelerated engineering program after returning, and Betty worked as a secretary in the Dean of Engineering Office. They attended a number of sporting events like football games and wrestling matches during their free time. On the weekends, Lew and his wife went to the Pi Kapp house for dinner, bridge, dances and socials. Despite his involvement, Lew struggled to build a close relationship with many of the brothers in the house because of his different stage in life.

 

One brother Lew would like to reconnect with is Stewart Davis '45, a brother from a nearby town that gave Lew rides home before he went off to war.

 

After graduation, Lew worked for Philadelphia Electric for 40 years, serving as a Vice President before his retirement. He and Betty have three very talented and successful children, five grandchildren and one great grandchild.

 

Brothers can reach Lew at 610-696-4224 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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