Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sad news

My good friend, fellow wargamer and all-around fine fellow Mark Perry has died of a massive heart attack while on a business trip in Hawaii.

I've known Mark so long that i can't quite recall when I met him.

Mark was a fine person. He was, first and foremost, a devoted dad and loving husband. No one can miss him more than his wife and friend Cindy and their three children. The photo above shows Mark with his son Ian, who is serving with in the Army in Iraq.

Mark was a serious and thoughtful man, with a strong sense of duty and ethics. He was an active leader in his church and he served a full and honorable career in the Navy Reserve. He was the first person I personally knew who was recalled to active duty after 9/11. Mark served in the Washington area on port security planning. I don't know any details about what he did, and I'm sure it was classified anyway, but I have no doubt that he made a contribution to our nation's security. Mark's career involved training ship captains and other maritime personnel.

Mark's full life of family, church, career and naval service meant that I didn't have as much opportunity as I would have liked to enjoy his company across the wargame table. And while Mark was a life-long wargamer and a quality opponent, he was always gracious and sportsmanlike. He never let competitiveness get in the way of an enjoyable game. In fact, I think we probably spent more time during our game sessions talking about history and current affairs than actually playing.

Mark had wide-ranging interests as a gamer, but I think his first love was the American Civil War. He's the only person I know who owns a complete set of the Official Records (which is a compilation over scores of books of the official reports from the generals on both sides of the conflict). Mark was a published writer on historical topics, with his work appearing in Strategy & Tactics, among other periodicals.

It's a cruel blow to lose him so soon. I joked with him once that we'd only get to play This Hallowed Ground (the massive regimental-scale Gettysburg battle game) once we were both retired. I guess that will remain an unrealized project now.

My understanding is that there will be a memorial service for Mark in Rhode Island on Oct. 10.

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