Perry prepared for Princeton at Phillips Exeter Academy. His father, Harvey Hassall Smith, was secretary of the Class of 1917. Perry was named for his father’s best friend and Princeton classmate, Perry Edwards Hall.
At Princeton Perry majored in art and archaeology, rose to costume manager of the Triangle Club, and took his meals at Key & Seal. He roomed with Bob Fletcher, John Henneman, Dick Mullan, and Jerry Raibourn. He earned a master’s degree in art from Harvard and was a Fulbright scholar in Venice from 1958 to 1961.
In 1962 he began a lifelong search for what he called “secret India.” From 1963 to 2000 the international development arm of the National Council of Churches employed him in Algeria, Madagascar, Zaire, Vietnam, Haiti, India, Nepal, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam.
He was a benefactor of the Tibetan Medical Institute in Dharmsala, India, the 1957 Classmate Fund, the Princeton Art Museum, and the New Orleans Museum of Art.
He is survived by five nephews and six nieces. His ashes will be buried sometime later in a family plot in Bangor, Maine.