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Now Retired (Sort Of), Corporate Lawyer and Farmer, 74, Reflects on a Busy Life Well-Lived

Posted Sep 12, 2011 8:17 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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As a former corporate lawyer and bank chairman who still serves on the board of three other companies, A. Michael "Mike" Perry certainly knows how to wear a business suit and handle a boardroom situation.

But the 74-year-old is not only just as comfortable but more comfortable wearing jeans and muddy work boots and baling hay or cutting silage on the family farm, reports the Charleston Gazette.

With the help of other family members, he and his wife of 53 years, Henriella, also created Perry's Heritage Farm Museum and Village, a facility that is now open to the public there, documenting a way of life and displaying a historic collection of tools and other items.

The family's shift to an unusual lifestyle for a corporate lawyer began in 1973, the article recounts. That was when they moved with their three children from a comfortable home in Huntington, W.Va., to a partially burned log cabin near a 200-acre Huntington farm his dad had purchased before his death.

It had one electrical outlet, one light fixture and no indoor plumbing. Friends wondered if the family was dealing with financial difficulties. But it was a first step in a 15-year rehabilitation project and learning experience, as far as farm skills were concerned..

Audy, the youngest, was 2 years old when they moved. Today, he practices at his dad's former law firm, Huddleston Bolen, and his wife helps her mother-in-law run the farm office.

"It's been marvelous," says Perry of his decades of hard work at home. "We've had a ball."

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