Perry was born in Idaho and moved, with his brother Gene, to Alaska in 1951. In 1955 he married Lettie Laverne and they had three children, Cathy, Steve and Tom. Perry worked for the Alaska State Ferry System for many years and began commercial fishing in 1963. By 1972 he had bought his own boat (a 28′ Hamm) and in 1988 he commissioned a new boat, a 42′ Ledford. Both boats were called the F/V Dolly B after his wife.
Perry retired from fishing in 1999 and he and his wife spent many years between their Alaskan home and their winter home in Arizona. Perry suffered an acute case of Pemphigus Foliaceus in 2004 which left him weakened but determined to recover. On January 12, 2012 Perry suffered sudden and unexpected heart failure. The Buchanan clan misses him very much.