Obituary of Richard Perera (1933 – 2021) – Pittsfield, MA



Dr Richard Decio Perera passed away peacefully at his home in Pittsfield on Friday, December 3 at the age of 88. “Rich” for childhood friends and family, “Dick” from college, “Dr. P.” to his extended family in the medical community, he was a beloved Berkshire physician, dedicated family man, and gifted amateur musician.

Dr. Perera was born in New York City on August 15, 1933, to Mario and Rose (Pariser) Perera, raised in White Plains, NY, and spent summers in Lake Dunmore, Vermont, in a cottage that remains in the family. After graduating from Hotchkiss School, Princeton University and New York Medical College, he joined the Berkshire Medical Group in Pittsfield in 1962, where he practiced internal medicine for over 50 years. He served in the US Army Medical Corps from 1967 to 1969, reaching the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Dr Perera was on the staff at Berkshire Medical Center, served as Assistant Professor at U. Mass. Medical School and has been widely admired as a teacher and mentor to medical students and residents. “Dr. P.” has always been modest, but his many awards and accolades – and most importantly the love and gratitude of countless patients and colleagues – are a testament to his kind and gentle nature and dedication to his profession. He was known to linger with patients, giving them his undivided attention well beyond today’s rushed medical encounters. He loved his job and only reluctantly retired after a stroke at the age of 80 – the same year he was honored as Massachusetts Community Clinician of the Year. Medical Society, Berkshire District.

Another great love of Dr. Perera was music. He played the trumpet from childhood through college, sang for 25 years in the Berkshires Oratorio Choir, and began cello at age 52, becoming a valued member of the Pittsfield Community Music School Orchestra, Pittsfield Symphony and Stockbridge Sinfonia. An avid photographer, he developed and printed his own work for many years, which has been published in various media including The Berkshire Eagle. He loved cycling and for over a decade competed in the Josh Billings RunAground triathlon (cycling, canoeing, running). He was an enthusiastic patron of the arts, served on the boards of cultural institutions including the Berkshire Museum and South Mountain Concerts, and performed other community service including serving as chairman of the BMC Institutional Review Board.

Dr Perera’s selfless dedication to his nearly 55-year wife, Evelyn (née Lewis), during her long decline of Alzheimer’s disease has been an inspiration to many. He kept her active and involved in the community for many years and insisted that she stay at home, under his loving care, until her passing in 2016.

He is survived by his three children and their families: Rosie Perera of Vancouver, BC, Canada; Rick Perera (Cory Firestine) of Atlanta; and Jane Perera (Peter Stein) and her grandson Isaac Perera Stein, of Boston. With Eve, he was predeceased by his sister Emily and his brother-in-law Ed Schmitt, and leaves three generations of nieces and nephews.

The Perera family are eternally grateful to the extraordinary team of caregivers who have seen ‘Dr. P.’ through his later years in happiness, comfort and dignity – especially Tami Bouchard and her husband Mike, whose family has seen him. adopted as theirs.

A memorial service will be held Friday, December 17 at 2 p.m. at Zion Lutheran Church in Pittsfield. COVID-19 vaccination and compulsory mask. An online option will be available (see www.deryfuneralhome.com for details). In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Stockbridge Sinfonia (for a music scholarship fund in his memory), 1045 West St., Pittsfield, MA 01201 (stockbridgesinfonia.org), or Berkshire Medical Center.

Posted by The Berkshire Eagle on Dec 11, 2021.


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