Ross Perot, self-made billionaire, renowned patriot and two-time independent candidate for U.S. president, has died after a five-month battle with leukemia.
He was 89.
Dallas News reports,
The pioneer of the computer services industry, who founded Electronic Data Systems Corp. in 1962 and Perot Systems Corp. 26 years later, was just 5-foot-6, but his presence filled a room.
“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.”
Perot was diagnosed with leukemia in February. A massive secondary infection the next month nearly killed him, according to the family.
In true Perot fashion, he fought back, showing up at the office most days in his dark suit with the omnipresent American flag on his lapel.
Perot entertained a steady stream of well-wishers at Perot headquarters on Turtle Creek Boulevard and spent Easter with his family at their compound in Bermuda.
He celebrated his 89th birthday in June with a family lunch at his office and a dinner at the home of his daughter, Carolyn Perot Rathjen.
One of his recent visitors was Morton H. Meyerson, the former EDS and Perot Systems president and CEO. Perot named Dallas’ symphony hall after Meyerson when Perot donated $10 million toward its construction in 1984.
“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,” Meyerson said. “Ross was tough, smart, practical, loved to negotiate. But he had a warm and kind heart, too.”
In recent years, Perot Sr.’s memory was dimming, but he and Margot, his wife of more than 60 years, maintained a steady social calendar.
Nancy Perot said there was a private, tender side to her father that was often eclipsed by his bolder-than-life public persona.
No matter how busy Perot was, family dinners were sacrosanct when the children were growing up. The only time he wasn’t at the head of the table to say grace was when he was out of town.
“I want people to know about Dad’s twinkle in his eyes,” she said. “He always gave us the biggest hugs. We never doubted that we were the most important things in his life.”
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