Ross Perot was an American business magnate, billionaire, philanthropist, and politician.
Ross Perot is Notable.
Henry Ray Perot was born in Texarkana, Texas June 27, 1930 to Gabriel and Lula May (Ray) Perot. Gabriel was a commodity broker specializing in cotton contracts. Ross spoke highly of his parents and childhood, despite living through the depression. He attributed much to the family's deep faith in God, living that out through hard work, honesty, generosity, and prioritizing family. He watched his mother feeding those who would show up on their doorstep during the depression, recalling her teaching him that people are all the same-some are just down on their luck. He always claimed his father was his best friend.
At a young age, Ross was perfecting his sales talent, following his father around town buying and selling saddles and horses. Later he was delivering newspapers and training horses.
Ross attended a private school called Patty Hill. He graduated from Texas High School in Texarkana in 1947. He was also an Eagle Scout, part of Troop 18 in Texarkana.
While in his teens, Ross changed his middle name from Ray to Ross to honor his father. He had an older brother, Gabriel Ross Jr., who died at an early age.
From 1947 to 1949, Ross attended Texarkana Junior College. He entered the United States Naval Academy in 1949 and helped establish its honor system and was president of his graduating class.
"I had never seen the ocean, and I had never seen a ship - but I knew that I wanted to go to the naval academy." Ross Perot
Ross served as an ensign in the Navy during the last stages of the Korean War on the USS Sigourney, and later on the USS Leyte, after which he resigned.
Ross married Margot Birmingham of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, September 15, 1956 at the First Presbyterian Church in her hometown. They remained devoted to each other until his death, enjoying working together on their foundation and dancing. He often commented on her beauty, compassion, and mothering. His family was always important, and he made a point to be home every evening for supper. Together they had 5 children and 19 grandchildren.
Soon after his departure from the Navy, Ross was offered a job with IBM. His early time spent in sales around his hometown would serve as very beneficial in his role at the company in Dallas, exceeding his sales goals as quickly as he was given them. In trying to meet customer needs and help IBM grow, Ross saw one of those needs not being fulfilled. He tried to convince IBM to build data processing suites to go with their computers, but they weren't interested. Seeing an opportunity, Ross struck out on his own.
With $1000 from his and Margot's savings, Ross founded Electronic Data Systems. It marked the beginning of not only a new company, but also a new industry, information technology services (IT). Later he would found Perot Systems, and both companies were publicly traded, and later sold for major profit.. According to Forbes, his assets were worth in $4.1 billion in 2019.
Ross became heavily involved in the Vietnam War POW/MIA issue, arguing that hundreds of American servicemen were left behind in Southeast Asia after the Vietnam War.
In 1979, Ross answered a request by then Texas Governor Bill Clements to lead the state's War on Drugs. Governor Mark White had him lead a statewide education reform initiative in 1984.
During President George H. W. Bush's tenure, Ross became increasingly active in politics and strongly opposed the Gulf War. He funded research at the University of Texas into what was later called Gulf War Syndrome. He also opposed the ratification of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
In 1992, Ross announced his intention to run for president and advocated a balanced budget, an end to the outsourcing of jobs, and the enactment of electronic direct democracy. A June 1992 Gallup poll showed Perot leading a three-way race against President Bush and presumptive Democratic nominee Bill Clinton. He chose Admiral James Stockdale. In the election, he ended up receiving 18.9% of the popular vote, but did not win any electoral votes. His biggest supporters were those who identified as moderates.
Ross ran for president again in 1996, establishing the Reform Party.He won 8.4% of the popular vote against President Clinton and Republican nominee Bob Dole. He did not seek public office again after 1996 and did not enter the 2000 Reform Party presidential primaries. Both of his campaigns were among the strongest presidential showings by a third party or independent candidate in U.S. history.
Ross's early memories of his mother being benevolent to whoever needed help influenced his decision to start the Perot Foundation in 1969 with his wife, Margot. The goal of the foundation is to help fund projects that will improve others' lives. Ross founded the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. He also helped finance the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. He was known for helping with medical expenses when he heard of people in need. He was also a major benefactor of The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
Ross Perot died of leukemia July 9, 2019 at home in Dallas, Texas. He was cremated and buried in Sparkman Hillcrest Memorial Park , Dallas, Dallas County, Texas, USA.
Ross's efforts to have two of his EDS employees who were held hostage during the Iranian Revolution released was novelized by Ken Follett in "On Wings of Eagles" and later in a movie.
Ross won many awards and received many honorary doctorates throughout his lifetime. They include:
The Winston Churchill Award
Dwight D. Eisenhower Award
Distinguished Graduate Award from the U.S. Naval Academy
National Patriot Award from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society
↑ 4.04.1 "Texas Birth Certificates, 1903-1935," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K6L4-TVH : 13 March 2018), Henry Ray Perot, 27 Jun 1930; citing Texarkana, Bowie, Texas, United States, certificate 49060, Texas Department of Health, Austin; FHL microfilm 2,139,250.
↑ Ancestry.com. U.S., Select Military Registers, 1862-1985 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013. Ancestry Record 2345 #843478
↑ Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1999 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. "U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012"; School Name: United States Naval Academy; Year: 1953 Ancestry Record 1265 #10504579
"United States Census, 1940," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KWNP-NGL : 15 March 2018), Henry Ross Perot in household of G Ross Perot, Justice Precinct 1, Bowie, Texas, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 19-12, sheet 8A, line 9, family 172, Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 - 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012, roll 3989.
"United States Public Records, 1970-2009," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KGVT-CLW : 22 May 2014), H Perot, Residence, Fort Worth, Texas, United States; a third party aggregator of publicly available information.
"United States Public Records, 1970-2009," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KG2T-KCQ : 22 May 2014), Ross Perot, Residence, Plano, Texas, United States; a third party aggregator of publicly available information.'
This article on Ross Perot was a very enjoyable read. I met him in 1993 in Midland, TX and it struck me that he was just a regular guy. He was humble, and during our conversation about our lives made me realize if I wanted anything enough I could achieve it. We Iaughed about it as I told him he was the kind of person I would choose to have dinner with because he had so many great stories! I'm surprised that my husband's family is related. I was definitely honored to have met him, and spend the time shootin' the breeze (as he put it).
Thank you for reminding me of that time. I am sad that he has taken his journey, but I know God just got a really fine man and friend.
I enjoyed reading this. Being raised in Texarkana, TX myself since birth in 1979, Ross Perot had a great impact on many things in our town. I too graduated from Texas High School and Texarkana College. If it weren't for Mr. Perot, our college would have shut down. I also have a client that Ross personally helped her granddaughter receive the medical care she needed by making a Doctor's appointment for her at a Dallas hospital. May his family have peace, comfort and strength and may he rest in peace.