If you ever listened to WVON Radio talk show host Perri Small, co-host of the Matt & Perri Show, you have heard her, on numerous occasions, reference her beloved father, Allen Small Sr. Perri has been a fixture at WVON for around 20 years, starting out as a producer, and was originally hired by the recently deceased Wesley South, chairman emeritus. (Co-host Matt McGill supported Perri during her loss, and besides working as a team, they are also like sister and brother.)
The day after Christmas, Allen Small Sr. died at the age of 81. Born on July 13, 1928 in Evanston, Mr. Small was raised in the Washington Park area of Chicago and attended St. Anselm Catholic Grammar School and Fenger High School. He received associate degrees from Illinois Institute of Technology and Wilson Junior College and a bachelor’s from DePaul University.
After his marriage to Marian Morris in 1957, he landed a coveted position with the City of Chicago’s Building Department where he worked for 40 years. At the time he was hired by the city, Allen, along with a handful of other African-American men, thought they wouldn’t last a year.
Often Perri talked about his wealth of knowledge and how he read the Encyclopedia Britannica from A to Z. Legend has it that Hugh Hefner asked Allen what he thought about a classy girlie magazine that would be called “Playboy” and Allen told him, “Go for it.”
He is survived by his two children, Perri and Allen; his wife, Marian; and many relatives and friends. Services took place Jan. 4 at St. Joachim Church, 700 E. 91st.