Mr. Bass was at the center of a family business that traces its origins to Sid Richardson, the Texas wildcatter who borrowed $40 from Mr. Bass's mother during the Depression and struck the Keystone and Slaughter oil fields in West Texas.
On his death in 1959, Mr. Richardson, a bachelor, gave most of his money to charity, but set aside about $11 million in oil properties and real estate for his only nephew, Perry.
Perry Richardson Bass was born on Nov. 11, 1914, in Wichita Falls, Tex. Soft-spoken, Mr. Bass graduated from the Hill School in Pottstown, Pa., and in 1937 graduated with a degree in geology from Yale. He later donated $20 million to build a molecular biology center at Yale.
A passionate conservationist and outdoorsman, Mr. Bass was also an expert sailor. He was navigator for Ted Turner's American Eagle when it won the World's Open Racing Championship in 1972.
Under the family's leadership and philanthropy, downtown Fort Worth was transformed from a collection of storefronts to a glistening urban center. The renovation included the Nancy Lee & Perry R. Bass Performance Hall, which was opened in 1998 and is host to such events as the Van Cliburn international piano competition. Mr. Bass and his wife, Nancy Lee Bass, who survives him, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1991 by giving $1 million to each of 50 different institutions.
Three of Mr. Bass's sons — Sid, Lee and Edward — invested with their father. In 1983, a fourth son, Robert, broke away to form his own investment firm. Mr. Bass is also survived by all his sons.