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Ethel Highsmith Perry Good


Ethel Highsmith Perry Good (Perry), 80, died peacefully on November 25, 2023 in Chapel Hill, NC surrounded by her family.

Perry was born on June 20, 1943 to Ethel Highsmith Perry and Daniel Thaddeus Perry. She grew up in Fayetteville, NC, was a graduate of Fayetteville High School and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She studied at the University of Grenoble, France and received a Master’s degree in Anthropology from New York University.

Perry spent her life as an educator, speaker, corporate coach and writer. She taught nationally and internationally and conducted more than 2,000 workshops and seminars in the fields of applied psychology and education. She was known for her big personality, her humor and her interactive, entertaining teaching and speaking style. She had the ability to make complicated questions and processes seem simple, breaking down the toughest issues and offering roadmaps that paved a way to new understandings and practices. She authored four books, In Pursuit of Happiness, Helping Kids Help Themselves, Overall Direction, It’s Finally OK to Be the Boss. A Connected School was her last book which she co-authored.

She was President of New View Publications, co-founded with her husband, Fred Good. Together they published over 25 books related to education, personal development, and Perceptual Control Theory. New View was on the ground floor of innovative teacher training and the creation of “connected schools”. Core to all of her work and teaching was the key question, “What kind of person do I want to be?”

For those who loved Perry or simply met her once, she was a force to be reckoned with. She was loving, generous, funny, curious, opinionated, brilliant and as her dear friend and colleague said, her leaving is “the end of an era”. She was an amazing mom and grandma, and a role model to many. 

Perry is survived by her daughter, Jessica Good Murley, Jessica’s husband, Matt Murley, two grandsons, Luke and Ben Murley, her brother, James Alexander Perry, all of Chapel Hill, and several cousins. She was preceded in death by her husband, Frederic William Good, her parents, and her brother, Daniel Thaddeus Perry III of Fayetteville.

A celebration of life service will be held in early 2024. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations be made to Healing Pines Respite (www.healingpinesrespite.org) or to the charity of their choosing.