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Obituary Stories

History buff from Monessen delved into Titanic, JFK killing

Joe Napsha
| Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018, 11:00 p.m.

Hal Perry of Monessen was a history buff who loved to discuss the tragic sinking of the Titanic in April 1912, World War II and the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy.

“He enjoyed his history so much. It was a lifelong passion for him. He was a big fan of (President) JFK,” said his wife of 37 years, Tina Golock Perry.

Hal Rick Spence Perry died Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018, at UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh. He was 61.

He was born Oct. 19, 1956, in Knoxville, Tenn., the son of the late Richard and Betty Perry. His parents moved to Westmoreland County when he was a child, and he graduated from Penn-Trafford High School.

Mr. Perry was an award-winning ASE certified master auto technician who worked for the former Peckman Ford dealership in McKeesport, the C. Harper dealerships and most recently for Bart's Auto & Tire in Monessen, his wife said.

Mr. Perry could talk at length about the historical topics he enjoyed. He knew all about the events leading up to the “unsinkable” Titanic hitting the iceberg and read extensively about Kennedy's murder and the conspiracy theories about the president's death.

“He always thought the FBI and CIA were involved,” his wife said.

He was a fan of the venerable Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, a bomber that saw duty during World War II.

His wife recalled that when their sons were young, he took the two older boys to the Allegheny County Airport in West Mifflin, where they were able to see an authentic World War II-era B-52 bomber.

One of his longtime dreams that went unfulfilled was to restore his father's early 1970s black Lincoln Continental, which he wanted to enter in car shows, his wife said.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Perry is survived by four sons: Joshua, Hal, Daniel and Matthew; and three granddaughters.

Friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday in the James C. Stump Funeral Home, 580 Circle Drive, Rostraver. A blessing service will be held there at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, followed at 10 a.m. by a funeral liturgy in the Church of Saint Anne, Rostraver.

Interment will follow in West Newton Cemetery.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-5252 or

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