Donald Allen Perera was born on June 15, 1937 in New York City, the son of Charles Allen Perera and Ruth Hoopes Brinton Perera. At 6 mos., his family moved to Scarsdale, New York, a New York suburb, where he grew up. The third of five children, he attended Edgewood Elementary School and Scarsdale Junior High. In 10th grade, following his siblings, he went to Westtown Friends Boarding School in Westtown, PA, a Quaker school, founded in 1799 that his mother's family had attended for generations.
Upon graduation from Westtown, he attended Princeton University for two years. When he realized engineering and Princeton were not the right fit for him he dropped out of college and moved to Wyoming to try his hand at ranching. When that failed, he became the co-owner of a music store and later worked in a Ford dealership. He raced dragsters on the weekends. During those years, he went back to school and graduated with a degree in Business Administration from the University of Wyoming.
Don loved Wyoming, even milking cows in below zero weather. However he realized he might not be able to make a living there and began searching for other work. He was hired by Ford Motor Company and moved to St. Louis, MO where he began his 30 year career. During those years he worked in Parts and Service as a customer representative and later as a heavy truck engineer and trainer.
While in St. Louis, he met his wife, Jean Shepard, an Iowa farm girl. They were married in 1969 and had two children, Christine and Douglas.
In 1971, Don and Jean were transferred with Ford to Iowa and once again in 1978 to San Jose, CA. Don completed his career with Ford in the late 90's. In 2002 they moved from San Jose to Springfield, an active adult community in Rocklin, CA.
Moving to Rocklin rekindled his interest in Native Americans, especially the Maidu that lived in this area. He worked tirelessly with the Clover Valley Foundation to keep the pristine valley behind his home, a major trade route for the Maidu and other tribes, from being developed.
He enjoyed talking to children about the Native Americans. For several years he spoke to a 3rd grade class at the local elementary school. He became a docent for the Maidu Interpretive Center, Roseville, and led tours for 3rd and 4th graders. He led a tour for each of his 3 grandchildren. He truly loved talking to the kids.
Don's Quaker upbringing and belief in peace and equality influenced the way he lived his life. He was dedicated to doing all he could to make the world a better place for his children and grandchildren.
Don was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, John. He is survived by 3 sisters, Sylvia Brinton Perera, Ellen (Roger) Perera Scott and Carol Perera Weingeist. Also surviving him are his wife, Jean, daughter Christine (Don) Nguyen, son Douglas Perera and 3 grandchildren, Kylie, Dylan and Hayden Nguyen.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Clover Valley Foundation, PO Box 713, Loomis, CA 95650, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, http://www.lls.org/greater-sacramento-area or Westtown Friends Boarding School, https://www.westtown.edu/page.cfm?p=955 (in memory of Don Perera class of '55).
Don was a gentleman and a gentle man. He will be sorely missed by those who knew and loved him.