In New York City after the war, he met Rosanne Perlmutter, a concentration camp survivor. They married in 1950, and she became an award-winning teacher of sociology and psychology at Newton North High School.
“His love for his wife was legendary,” said Barbara Gaffin, a Jewish activist who worked with Mr. Perlmutter and formerly was associate director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston.
“He adored his wife. He lived for his wife,” said Mr. Perlmutter’s daughter, Cathy of South Pasadena, Calif. “ ‘Devoted’ doesn’t even begin to cover it.”
Indeed, she said, Mr. Perlmutter was strict about when the workday ended because that was when he got to go spend time with his wife.
Gaffin recalled that “he used to say: ‘At 5 o’clock, the lights go out in the office, and anybody who doesn’t leave at 5 doesn’t love his wife.’ ”
Before spending 15 years running the Jewish Community Relations Council and retiring in 1990, he was New England regional director of the American Jewish Committee in Boston. He also had worked for the Anti-Defamation League in New York City.
His older brother, Nathan, who formerly was national director of the ADL, died in 1987, the year he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
A service will be announced for Mr. Perlmutter, who in addition to his wife and daughter leaves a son, Jeff, who also lives in California, and two grandchildren.
In leadership roles, Philip Perlmutter was the “quintessential professional,” Gaffin said. “He was an extraordinary teacher.”
Sheila Decter, director of the Jewish Alliance for Law & Social Action, formerly worked for Mr. Perlmutter and called him “a very good mentor” who cared about those in his office.
Although he “wasn’t a believer in what was politically correct,” she said, those who took time to talk with Mr. Perlmutter left respecting his intellect.
“He didn’t come by his opinions lightly,” Decter said. “His opinions were a product of serious readings and writings.”
Bryan Marquard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.