Tom and Jim met many years ago when Reeves was just starting out in radio, and the two formed a friendship that lasted until Jim's death. In 1959 they bought a radio station together, KGRI in Henderson, Texas, where Reeves had gotten his start as a disk jockey.
In my book, "Jim Reeves: His Untold Story," I have many mentions of Tom and his wife, Billie. Many Elvis fans know that Tom booked some early shows for Presley, and the Browns -- Jim Ed, Maxine and Bonnie -- were close friends of the Perrymans as well. In fact, a lot of the starving artists in the old days used to end up at the Perryman home where Billie would feed them. That included Elvis.
Despite all the plaudits for Mr. Perryman, I would be remiss if I failed to note that it was he who put Mary's second husband, Terry Davis, together with Ed Gregory (a convicted bank fraud felon), without doing any homework. Tom KNEW Mary spent a lifetime preserving Jim's memorabilia but he nevertheless put the deal together which resulted in Mary losing everything, as she lay ill in a nursing home. Tom personally told me that having Ed Gregory buy JR's estate was "the best thing that's happened to Jim and Mary in a long time."
But disaster ensued.
I never will forget, however, the day Mary died, I called TP and talked to both Tom and Billie, who got on extension phones. (Billie and I also talked one time at length, just the two of us, years ago). They were in the mood to reminisce about Jim and Mary that day, and I swear I could hear the clink of ice cubes in glasses as they expressed their sorrow and shared many memories. For the first time, Tom let down his guard and told me a bunch of stuff that previously he had not discussed. It was a no-holds-barred conversation that I still have on tape (they knew I was writing a book on Reeves). We probably talked for at least an hour and I was glad that I had a chance to share this experience with both of them. Never before or since had I heard Tom talk with such candor.
However, those who knew him also knew to take a lot of his stories with a grain of salt. To hear him tell it, Jim Reeves never recorded a song without checking with Tom first. And yet the details he provided that day about various matters did check out.
In any event, I wanted to note Tom Perryman's passing and express my condolences to his wife and family.
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