Perry Herbert Lueders was born on April 27, 1938, to parents Herbert and Agnes (Galland-Steele) Lueders of Canby, Minnesota. Perry graduated from Canby High School in 1956. Following high school, he attended Concordia University for one year and then transferred to the University of Minnesota Duluth, from which he earned his BFA, double majoring in Psychology and Speech/Theatre. In 1959, Perry accepted a scholarship at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he graduated with a MFA in Theatre in the spring of 1960. Perry married Eleanor Faye DiGiglia on June 18, 1960. Their son, Jeffery Gerard, was born July 6, 1961, in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

For two years, Perry instructed Speech and Theatre at Xavier University in New Orleans, directing main stage commercial comedies and also held the position of Theatre Director at the University of West Virginia. He later taught at Loyola University in New Orleans where he was the director of the Theatre Department. In 1967, he accepted a position as Professor of English and Humanities at Southwest State University (SSU) in Marshall, MN, where he taught for 30 years and was bestowed the highest honor—Professor Emeritus.

Upon Perry’s return to Canby, MN, he raised beautiful Arabian horses and prize Nubian goats. During his 30 years of teaching and directing plays and musicals at SSU, Perry founded Canby Community Players in 1974. He spent many of his summers and free time directing and bringing live community theater to Lake Benton, The Canby Theaters, Brookings, and other rural venues, oftentimes filling his horse trailers with the necessary scenery, costumes, lighting and props. Some of his favorite shows include Steel Magnolias and Driving Miss Daisy.

In 1997, Perry joined the Peace Corp and taught ESL (English as a Second Language) in Manila, Philippines, from 1998-2000. This proved to be a very special assignment for him. He loved the Filipino people and their culture, and he would often speak of his time there.

Upon his return to Minneapolis, Perry worked at St. Catherine University in the Learning Center from 2001-2018. Perry was a steadfast friend to many; celebrating and supporting their successes, and offering his best counsel during their struggles. He was especially committed to supporting the success of newcomers to the U.S., spending countless hours tutoring Somali, Eastern European, Latina, and other immigrant students studying health care professions. He had a special gift of bringing out the best in people. Perry was an inspiration and champion of academic achievement to the young people in his career, his family, and the children of friends.

For his entire life, Perry thoroughly enjoyed the arts: operas, theater, movies, classical music, and studying and writing scripts, plays, and stories. Perry appeared in one major motion picture, Factotum, based on the work of Charles Bukowski, which starred Matt Dillon and Lili Taylor. He also worked as an actor and producer in numerous independent films here in MN. In recent years, much of his energy went to the Screenwriters’ Workshop, where he served on the board up until his passing. Perry was a playwright and screenwriter who was proud to represent the experience of gay men.

Perry will be deeply missed by his son, Jeffery (Sara) Bass, his grandsons, Samuel Bass and Joseph Bass, his sister, Constance (Cathy Sloan) Berckes, his five nieces and nephews, Holly (Steven) Muller, Bonnie Berckes, Dan (Michelle) Berckes, Shelly (Scott) Horst and Nancy (Randy) Jurgenson, 14 great-nieces and nephews, co-workers, fellow writers, and all his friends and family of the arts and education. Perry was proceeded in death by his parents, Herbert Benjamin Lueders and Agnes Eleanor (Galland-Steele) Lueders.

Published on August 19, 2018