H. Ross Perot was born in Texarkana June 27, 1930. His father was a cotton trader during the Depression who began learning his father's business acumen during his childhood while buying and selling items such as seeds and saddles, training horses, and delivering newspapers. He learned to negotiate for himself and became an Eagle Scout at age 13 in roughly 13 months.
Perot founded Electronic Data Systems (EDS) in 1962 and established Perot Systems in 1988. He ran a successful campaign for president as an independent in 1992, garnering 19 percent of the popular vote but losing to Bill Clinton and again in 1996.
Perot graduated Texas High School, Texarkana, in 1947 and Texarkana Junior College in 1949. He joined the U.S. Naval Academy as a Midshipman that year on his 19th birthday. He met Margot Birmingham during his senior year, then shipped out on the USS Sigourney as a junior officer in the U.S. Navy in 1953 at the end of the Korean War
Perot and Birmingham married in 1956 and eventually had five children together. They moved to Dallas in 1957 after Perot accepted a sales job with International Business Machines where he beat sales quotas for five years. He started his own company, Electronic Data Systems, after he saw that businesses needed help implementing software and programming operations for their new hardware.
EDS continued gaining clients such as Frito-Lay and state Medicare contracts. Fortune magazine called Perot the "fastest, richest Texan" in a 1968 cover story. He sold EDS to General Motors for $2.4 billion in 1984 and served on the company's board of directors until 1986.
Perot founded Perot Systems with son Ross Perot, Jr., and eight others in 1988. The company specialized in digitization of medical records and grew to employ 24,000 in 25 different countries. Dell acquired Perot Systems in 2009 for $3.9 billion.
Perot Sr. was a lifetime advocate for veterans and prisoners of war. He gained fame in 1979 during the Iran Hostage Crisis for organizing and funding the rescue of two EDS employees imprisoned in Iran.
In honor of Perot's 80th birthday (2010), the bridge connecting Walton and University drives in Texarkana, Texas, was named the H. Ross Perot Bridge.
The Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas, founded in 2006, was named in honor of Perot and his wife Margot, by their children through a $50 million gift to establish the museum.
Perot died July 9, 2019, in Dallas at age 89.