January 27, 1949 – August 8, 2013
Lee Perlman was born in Brooklyn, New York, on January 27, 1949. His parents, Samuel and Lucille Perlman, were both involved in the Civil Rights movement and other social justice causes of the time. He graduated from Erasmus Hall High School and attended Boston University, where he majored in journalism. After graduating in 1970, Lee returned to New York City where he worked for a left-wing newspaper called the National Guardian. In 1972, Lee left New York; after driving slowly across the country, he landed in Portland, Oregon, where he remained for the rest of his life.
Lee loved Portland and, as a journalist, was very concerned with many issues that directly affected its citizens. Whether attending a street fair or bringing to light stories of the homeless, the hungry and the marginally employed, Lee retained that sense of social justice that defined the environment he was raised in. While he wrestled with the complexity of urban renewal, mayoral recalls and budget cuts, Lee delighted in bringing his readers stories of hope and beauty, such as his series on community gardens and the fine work of the Sisters of the Road.
Lee had a terrific memory and delighted in quoting verbatim from books he had read throughout his life. He could also sing the lyrics from any song he had ever heard, even the obscure vaudeville tunes that his father enjoyed. Until sidelined by an injury, Lee ran many half-marathons. In typical Lee fashion, he ran them while wearing jeans and work boots.
Although he stayed in regular touch with his family in New York, he only returned to New York at Christmas time. He would unpack his bag, pulling out silkscreened scarves, pottery and small sculptures made by Portland artists. He would also bring a number of his articles and columns that he thought would be of interest to the family. Lee would delight his elderly mother by reading to her for hours at a time.
Lee died unexpectedly at home on August 8, 2013. He is survived by his mother, Lucille; brother, Bill; sister-in-law, Patricia; nieces Deirdre and Michelle; nephew, Philippe; many loving cousins; and his dear friend Anne McLaughlin.
Services will be private. Lee had always requested that in the event of his death, his friends and loved ones reread the last lines in his favorite novel, The Mayor of Casterbridge:
“I ask that no one grieves on account of me, and that I not be buried in consecrated ground. And that no sexton be asked to toll the bell, and no mourners walk at my funeral.”
Those who knew and loved Lee should not be surprised by his wishes. He was a quiet, private and thoughtful man who will be dearly missed.
Information provided by Bill and Patricia Perlman