Huntington Icon

By Jack Houvouras

Jack Houvouras

For longtime readers of the Huntington Quarterly, you may recall that A. Michael Perry was featured in our premiere issue that was released in the Autumn of 1989. More than 23 years have passed since then and much has changed in the life of the man who, in our opinion, has grown to become a modern day Huntington icon.

Today Perry is 76 years old, but the former lawyer-turned-banker-turned-museum founder shows no signs of slowing down. He has traded in his three-piece suit for a new uniform that typically includes khakis, boots and a well-worn work shirt. That’s because his daily tasks usually include shoring up old timbers or wrestling with the heating and cooling systems in one of the 30 aging structures at his beloved Heritage Farm Museum & Village. After conquering the legal world at Huddleston Bolen and the financial sector at Key Centurion Bancshares, Perry and his wife Henriella turned their energies to building a museum that chronicles the history of early life in Appalachia.

“I think our ancestors were some of the most ingenious, creative, industrious, entrepreneurial people that have ever existed anywhere,” Perry asserts. “Heritage Farm is our humble effort to show the character of the Appalachian people, which should be emulated today.”

For Perry, the farm is the culmination of his life’s work. He has spent the last three decades working tirelessly to provide opportunities for the next generation so they can enjoy the quality of life that he did as a young man growing up in Huntington. He says that it haunts him to see young people who want to stay in the area but are forced to leave to find good-paying jobs.

“You know, a lot of people helped me along the way and I’ve always felt an obligation to help others – to give back.”

To that end he has been at the forefront of major advances in economic development, education, healthcare, culture and improved infrastructure. As his peers note, it’s impossible to keep track of how much Mike Perry has done for the Huntington region.

A deeply religious man, he says the most important things in his life are the Four F’s – faith, family, friendship and farm. “There is nothing in life that I have been able to achieve without the grace of God and my beautiful wife.”

For all he has accomplished and his countless contributions to the region, we count A. Michael Perry among the most instrumental leaders Huntington has ever known.

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