Cover photo for John Henry Per-Lee, Sr.'s Obituary
John Henry Per-Lee, Sr. Profile Photo
1929 John 2022

John Henry Per-Lee, Sr.

June 30, 1929 — April 24, 2022

John Henry Per-Lee, age 92, of Atlanta, GA passed away at Emory Hospital on April 24, 2022. He was a beloved husband, father, uncle, grandfather, physician and friend.


Born June 30, 1929, in Detroit Michigan, he was the son of Jack Harrington Per-Lee and Lorraine Foote Per-Lee. He was preceded in death by his sister, Roxanne Motter. John was raised in Larchmont, New York. He attended New Hampshire’s Kimball Union Academy (1947), Dartmouth College (1951), Cornell University Medical School (1955) and completed his residency at New York Hospital in 1959. With pride in his country, John served as Lieutenant Commander in the US Navy (1959-61) after which he completed a fellowship in otology for the National Institute of Health at the University of Southern California (1961-62). In 1962 John joined colleague John Turner in starting the Otolaryngology practice for Emory Healthcare. Over more than 34 years of practicing medicine he trained residents and served on the academic staff for Emory University Medical School. Practicing medicine was a joy and privilege for John; and his patient, caring, kind and encouraging approach were hallmarks of his work. In 1996 John became a part-time faculty member at the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center where he had been treating patients for many years.


John met the love of his life and wife for almost 65 years in 1955, Dorothy Kerner, in Charlottesville, Virginia. They were married in 1957 and went on to have four children (Phil, Anne, John, Cynthia), six grandchildren and four great grandchildren. They lived for more than 60 years, surrounded by family and community in Atlanta, Georgia.


A devoted husband and father, John prioritized loving, serving and enjoying his family. He was a faithful fan of his children’s activities, and he was a chief encourager of new learning experiences. John loyally drove thousands of miles over many years for summer family gatherings at the beach. Ever an optimist, he had a zest for living and worked to make every day count. He warmly befriended all whom he met and demonstrated a kind, gentle, compassionate, and generous spirit to everyone he could.


John had a love for his church family, Decatur Presbyterian Church, and served in a variety of lay leadership roles over many years. He loved music, nature, dogs, sports, and traveling, something he and Dorothy prioritized in retirement. John was an avid reader, a strong communicator and an example of someone who never tired of learning.


John is survived by his wife, Dorothy, his four children and their families, Phil (Allison) Per-Lee, Claire and Laura; Anne (Clay) Porr, Sarah (Brandon, Anna) Reynolds and Christine Porr; John (Joni) Per-Lee, Katelyn (Ryan, Diana) Christman and Abigail (Kyle) Schmidt; Cynthia Per-Lee (Angie Buysse) and a number of nieces and nephews.


A memorial service for John will be held on Saturday, May 21, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. at Decatur Presbyterian Church. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Decatur Presbyterian Church

205 Sycamore Street, Decatur, GA 30030

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