Dr. Herbert Perr, a Navy veteran and longtime Rockville Centre psychiatrist who strived for peace on earth and peace of mind for his patients, died Nov. 7 at his home in South Setauket, two days after his 94th birthday, relatives said.
Perr, whose family said had been in poor health recently, was born in Newark, New Jersey, and graduated from New York University in 1941 and from Tulane Medical School in 1945. After serving in the Navy during World War II, Perr worked as an internist in private practice before returning to active duty during the Korean War.
Perr’s nephew, William Adler, said that after the war his uncle decided to specialize in psychiatry, “where he felt he could help people the most.”
“What he saw in terms of war, and also what he learned as a scientist, drove him to be very concerned about the world around him, the people around him,” Adler said. “He was very concerned about what made people tick — what motivated people to do things, to do the right thing.”
In addition to keeping his private practice in Rockville Centre for nearly four decades, Perr served as medical director of South Nassau Communities Hospital’s Outpatient Mental Health Clinic in Oceanside from 1969 through the 1980s, and also taught at the American Institute for Psychoanalysis, the New School for Social Research and as a faculty member in Stony Brook University Medical School’s Department of Psychiatry from 1972 through 1980.
A “humanist and lifelong peace activist,” Perr founded a local chapter of the Society for Individual Responsibility and was active in Physicians for Social Responsibility, Adler said. He was also passionate about music, bicycling, tennis and photography, having been featured in several solo exhibits, relatives said.
“With the dedication and creativity of a true scientist, he always sought clarification and data, and loved inventing and fixing all manner of things,” Perr’s family said in a statement. “A true renaissance man, he was gifted in many areas, yet retained a sense of humility.”
In addition to his wife of 68 years, Miriam, and his nephew, Perr is survived by daughters Barbara Perr Schenendorf of Port Washington and Dr. Jane Perr of Huntington; son Dr. Norman Perr of Northampton, Massachusetts; and a grandson, Dr. Jesse Schenendorf of Rochester.
Memorial service plans are not final. Perr’s family asks that donations in his memory be made to the Jefferson’s Ferry Foundation, 1 Jefferson Ferry Drive, South Setauket, NY 11720.