Trailblazing Rim Country Restaurateur Dies

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Anthony Perna, 90, of Payson died June 21, 2005. He was born June 30, 1914 in Rhode Island.

Mr. Perna was a fixture in the business community of the Rim country for more than 40 years.

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Anthony Perna

He first arrived in 1959. For two years, Mr. Perna ran the bar and restaurant at Pete's Place in Star Valley.

He eventually leased Kohl's Ranch, from the Michaels family, the original developers of the resort, said son Michael.

Perna managed Kohl's Ranch for another two years and opened his own restaurant, Diamond Point Shadows, in the winter of 1962.

Later the family built a small motel behind the restaurant, but it burned down.

"He was a real pioneer in the business," Michael said. "Payson was not much back then."

In fact, Perna actually built most of Diamond Point Shadows himself with help from his daughter, Gina Anderson.

"He'd go up on a ladder, holding one end of these beams," she said, pointing to the ceiling, "and I'd be holding the other end. I gathered all the stones for the fireplace."

Mr. Perna officially retired in 1990, selling Diamond Point Shadows to sons Michael and Dino.

"He spent the time after that traveling and just living his life," Michael said.

But, Michael added, his father's life was too full to sum up in a few sentences.

"He taught us to be fair. He was a great man and he will be missed," Michael said. "There are a lot of people who knew and loved him and I don't how to express my sympathy to them."

Mr. Perna was raised in Jamesville, N.Y. He was the second of six children and a World War II Army veteran.

He returned from the war and settled in Dearborn, Mich. where he opened a grocery store. He also ran for mayor of that town.

After stepping aside as one of Rim country's favorite restaurateurs, Mr. Perna enjoyed 15 years of retirement and traveled the world twice. His family described their father as a "very lively character."

Mr. Perna is survived by his daughter, Gina Anderson; sons, James and Michael Perna; brother, August Perna; sister, Mary Smith; seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Tania Perna, and son, Dino Perna.

There will be a memorial service at 11 a.m., Monday, June 27 at Messinger Payson Funeral Home, 302 W. Aero Drive in Payson.

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