Married: Frances Margaret Mourninghan
Children: Paul F. (d. 1959), Patricia Peroni, Luke Peroni
George Peroni was a World War II veteran, and served in the Battle of the Bulge, receiving a battlefield commission as a Second Lieutenant. After the war, he finished his high school degree and then attended Paul Smith's College, graduating with an Associates of Applied Science degree in May 1949; he subsequently earned a Bachelor of Science in Forest Management and Resource Policy at North Carolina State University in 1951.
He returned to Paul Smiths to work for the U.S. Forest Service in a temporary research station, and in 1953 he joined the faculty at Paul Smith's College. He later earned a Masters in Education and Psychology at St. Lawrence University. He taught at Paul Smiths for 33 years and was named a Professor emeritus upon his retirement. He continued to work part-time at the college for the following 11 years as a teacher and an admissions counselor.
George served as supervisor of the Town of Brighton in 1996.
He is buried in St. John's Cemetery in Paul Smiths
Brighton 2000: Life in the Town of Brighton, Franklin County, New York in the Year 2000, published by the Brighton Architectural Heritage Committee, Paul Smiths, New York, 2002
George Paul Peroni was born December 31, 1924 in New London, Connecticut. His mother, Vitoria Orazi and his father, Paolo Carlo Peroni, had both emigrated from Italy, his father circa 1898 and his mother circa 1905. In 1931 the family moved to Hartford, where George attended school. On December 7, 1941, while George was in his junior year in high school, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, and suddenly the United States found itself in World War II. On December 31 George turned 17, old enough to enlist in the army with parental permission. He was sworn in on March 3, 1942 and although, as he says, at 5 feet 7 inches tall and 130 pounds he was “no Rambo," he was anxious to serve his country, a sentiment shared by so many other young men at the time.
George eventually trained as a paratrooper and was a member of the 82nd Airborne Division when they jumped into southern France on August 15, 1944 as part of Operation Dragoon. At the time he held the rank of Sergeant.
He then joined the 63rd Division and was soon promoted to Staff Sergeant as a Rifle Platoon Squad Leader. Having advanced toward Germany through the summer and fall, George and his comrades thought the war would soon be over and they would be home for Christmas. But on December 16 the German Army, in a desperate last act, launched a surprise counteroffensive which, in reference to the large salient they achieved after puncturing the American lines, came to be known as “The Battle of the Bulge." By January 22 the bulge had collapsed under American counterattacks, but the toll was large: American casualties totaled 81,000, of which 19,000 were killed and 15,000 were captured. In a battle on December 31, of the nine soldiers in George's squad only he emerged without a wound -- three of the others were killed..
On February 17, 1945 George received a Battlefield Commission as a Second Lieutenant and he was assigned to take over as a platoon leader. A Battlefield Commission is an unusual honor - among the 16,000,000 men and women the U.S. had in uniform during World War II, only 2,000 received such commissions. Up to this time he had not been wounded, but between February 18 and his last battle action on April 29, 1945 he was wounded three times.
The war in Europe ended on May 8. George has remarked that at the time he reflected on the fact that he had been engaged in active combat for nine months, had risen from Sergeant to Second Lieutenant, had received three Bronze Stars, one Unit Citation and three Purple Hearts, and yet as a 20-year-old he was not entitled to vote and could not legally drink a beer in his home state of Connecticut.
George went on to serve as an advisor to the Greek Federal Army, and finally separated from the service in October 1946 with the rank of First Lieutenant.
Subsequently George attended Norwich Free Academy to finish the requirements for high school graduation and was then accepted at Paul Smith's College in June 1947. He received an Associates of Applied Science degree in May 1949, and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Forest Management and Resource Policy at North Carolina State University in 1951.
George then came to Paul Smiths to work for the U.S. Forest Service in a temporary research station. In 1951, George met his wife-to-be, Frances Margaret Mourninghan, who was on the Paul Smith's College hotel faculty. It turns out that Frances had been a First Lieutenant in the 178th General Hospital, which was operating in the same general area where George was fighting in Europe.
George soon left the Forest Service and went on to work for Dow Chemical Company. In September 1953 George joined the faculty at Paul Smith's College, and continued studying for, and finally earned, a Masters in Education and Psychology at St. Lawrence University. George and Frances had three children, Paul Francis, Patricia Ann, and Luke James.
George taught at Paul Smiths for 33 years and was named a Professor emeritus upon his retirement. He continued to work part-time at the college for the following 11 years as a teacher and an admissions counselor. From the time he left the Army until the early 1970s George also accepted assignments from a contractor to the Department of Defense, which required him to travel to a few Latin American countries as well as Israel and Laos. Frances passed away in 1990.
George served as supervisor of the town of Brighton in 1996.
He lived on County Route 30 in Rainbow Lake.
by John Quenell