Samuel Victor Perry (1918–2009) was a biochemist who was born in the Isle of Wight, moved shortly thereafter to King’s Lynn, Norfolk, and then spent the greater part of his youth in Southport, Lancashire. His undergraduate education and early research at Liverpool University were followed by army service for the duration of World War II. After his capture in North Africa he spent much of the war as a prisoner of war, during which time his several escapes became the stuff of legends. In 1946 he began research towards his PhD degree at Cambridge University on the protein chemistry of muscle, a central theme in which he was actively engaged for more than 60 years. These were his halcyon days—member of a leading research group in muscle, alongside distinguished achievements as an English rugby international. After a Cambridge University lectureship he was appointed Head of Biochemistry in Birmingham University in 1959—a post he occupied with distinction until retirement, elevating his department to one of international stature. Among his many contributions to the protein biochemistry of muscle contraction and its regulation were the discovery of skeletal muscle myosin phosphorylation, whose significance is still a field of active research, and the recognition that the presence of the cardiac protein troponin I in the bloodstream could be used as a diagnostic marker of myocardial infarction. Perry was an inveterate gardener, especially happy in his beloved Felin Werndew, a beautiful retreat in Dinas Cross, Pembrokeshire. In August 1948 he married Maureen Shaw. She and their son and two daughters survive him.
- This publication is © 2011 The Royal Society