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Frank Perlmutter, 57; huge backer of Dover-Sherborn H.S. sports

Mr. Perlmutter was president of an investment firm, Pondview Capital.
Mr. Perlmutter was president of an investment firm, Pondview Capital. Globe staff/file 1999

In the fall of 2014, more than 200 people gathered at Dedham Country and Polo Club to honor Frank Perlmutter, former president of the Dover-Sherborn Boosters.

As family, friends, and boosters members recognized the fruits of his numerous private sector fund-raising efforts, including a $1.1 million makeover of the football field and track at Dover-Sherborn Regional High, the guest of honor was featured in a video titled “Can We Be Frank?”

“Frank has been a driving force, year over year, from season to season, bringing energy and creativity to the task,” said narrator Anthony Barsamian. Mr. Perlmutter, he added, had exhibited “tireless dedication” for more than a decade “and for that we are grateful.”

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There was a surprise in store for Mr. Perlmutter that evening: The road leading to the high school’s practice fields would be named Perlmutter Pass because of his role in purchasing the land, which once was part of Medfield State Hospital.

Mr. Perlmutter, a founder of the popular Dover-Sherborn Boosters Triathlon and president of Pondview Capital LLC since 2002, died of heart failure June 3 in his Sherborn home. He was 57.

“He led by example and he gave generously of his time,” said his brother, David of Chappaqua, N.Y. “And he was a good listener who made you feel good about the decision you just made.”

Mr. Perlmutter, who was president of the boosters from 2005 to 2011, spoke at the 2012 Nora Searle Field dedication, at which high school, middle school, and youth teams marched Olympic-style onto the new artificial turf. The refurbishing also included a new track.

The snack shack on a rise adjacent to the football field was quite familiar to Mr. Perlmutter, who had arranged for the transportation of what was an unused shed to the stadium.

“Frank helped put the foundation in and set up the grills,” recalled current boosters president Bill Scatchard. “He was there every Friday night at football games, selling tickets at the gate and flipping burgers at the shack.”

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Scatchard said his friend “was a great team builder and probably the world’s best communicator who reached out constantly to help our student-athletes.”

The 12th annual triathlon, coaching seminars, and a lengthy list of equipment and upgrades for all the high school’s athletic teams are reminders of Mr. Perlmutter’s legacy.

“There was a level of trust with Frank because he was a follow-through individual,” said Wayland High athletic director Heath Rollins, who previously held that position at Dover-Sherborn. “I feel lucky I came to the school when Frank was with the boosters. I learned a lot about the town and our sports tradition from him.”

Dover-Sherborn headmaster John Smith called Mr. Perlmutter’s volunteerism “a labor of love. He had a big personality and a big handshake. Every athlete knew him and he had a way of bringing people together.”

Mr. Perlmutter’s children, Michael, Andrew, and Julia were multisport athletes at Dover-Sherborn Regional. All spoke at his service June 8 in the packed high school auditorium.

Michael, a doctoral candidate at Purdue University, said his father’s three terms as boosters president were unprecedented. “I guess that’s only fitting for a man named Franklin. He was a natural leader, a master of logistics, and always one to keep things in perspective.”

Andrew, a former Tri-Valley League football MVP who lives in Boston, said his father “had a special way of raising us with his light-hearted and humorous pragmatism.” He recalled how 30 of his father’s former employees had filed through the visitation line to thank the Perlmutter family and “tell us how grateful they were that my dad gave them their first job.”

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Julia, a senior at Colby College, told the story of her father’s first date with his future wife, Elizabeth Ann Robins, when he was working in Wisconsin. “He told her that he would get a group of friends to go out to dinner [for her birthday] just to celebrate,” Julia said. “To my mom’s surprise, when she showed up, it was just my dad sitting at the table. And from there my parents’ romance, lifelong partnership, and teamwork began, and they were a team like no other team you have ever seen.”

Mr. Perlmutter and Elizabeth married a year later, in 1983.

Born in Newark, N.J., Franklin Lewis Perlmutter grew up in Short Hills. and attended the Pingry School, a private school in Basking Ridge. His late father, Milton, was president of the synagogue, head of a supermarket chain, and a Rutgers University trustee who was respected for his work with civic and charitable organizations.

In a eulogy, David recalled that his brother did not want to leave his friends when his parents wanted him to attend Pingry. “However, Frank really wanted a minibike like the other boys in the neighborhood,” David recalled, “and this led to Frank’s first successful major negotiation, the purchase of a Honda 70 in return for his acquiescence to switching to Pingry.”

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Mr. Perlmutter graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Vassar College, and had studied during his junior year at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In Madison, Wis., he worked for Cub Foods, a supermarket chain whose manual system of timecards led to his idea of computerizing work schedules.

With his partner Geoff Palmer, Mr. Perlmutter founded Information Marketing Businesses and was its president. When the company was acquired by SimplexGrinnell, he was vice president in its time recorder division, before starting Pondview Capital, an investment banking firm.

Pondview, so named because Mr. Perlmutter lived on Farm Pond in Sherborn, specialized in merger and acquisition services for established and emerging companies. That expertise served him well as a boosters volunteer.

“He could explain numbers on a spreadsheet and make you laugh at the same time,” his son Michael said at the service.

In addition to his wife, children, and brother, Mr. Perlmutter leaves his mother, the former Harriet Krichman, of West Orange, N.J., and his sister, Genesia Kamen of South Orange, N.J.

On the night of his testimonial, when he was also presented with a symbolic key to the snack shack, Mr. Perlmutter reflected on his years with the boosters.

“I really enjoyed watching Mike, Andrew, and Julia grow and learn on the athletic field, like you did with your children,” he said. “This really was a ‘we’ thing . . . and we do this for the kids. They are the future of our community.”

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Marvin Pave can be reached at marvin.pave@rcn.com.