Obituary for Ralph Perkins
Ralph Jamison Perkins (Dec. 19, 1915 - May 29, 2017), a World War II Navy veteran, passed away in Dallas, Texas on Memorial Day, ending a life of almost 102 years. Mr. Perkins grew up in Independence, Senatobia, and Coldwater, Mississippi and lived most of his adult life in his beloved Calhoun City, Mississippi. He was the son of Laura Henrietta Jamison Perkins and Sanford McClendon Perkins.
Mr. Perkins -- who was always "Daddy" to daughters Mary Lynn Perkins and Dr. Cheryl Leigh Perkins -- and "Uncle R.J." to his nieces, to his great-nieces and nephews and to his great-great-nieces and nephews, was the widower of Myrtice Vanlandingham Perkins. Married to Ralph for more than 50 years, she had been a small business owner of Perkins Beauty Shop in Calhoun City and died in 1991 from breast cancer.
Ralph was next to the youngest of a tight-knit family of siblings and was preceded in death by his parents and all of his siblings: Grace Norfleet, Marvin T. Perkins, Marjorie Robinson, Carolyn Floyd, and Webber W. Perkins. As one of the youngest children, Ralph mixed a strong competitive drive with a gentle, steady nature that offered kindness, love, and tolerance to all he encountered.
Mr. Perkins’ career spanned many years of work with the Life of Georgia Insurance Company and the U.S. Postal Service. He delivered mail and friendship to the residents of Calhoun County on the route he covered for over a quarter of a century, retiring in 1989. He was an avid outdoorsman with a passion for hunting quail and ducks. The love, respect, and affection he showed to his bird dogs produced loyal and talented canine companions. He influenced generations of younger hunters with patient guidance and a sly sense of humor that remained robust until the day he died. A week before his death, when a doctor asked Ralph what additional treatment he needed, Ralph remarked, "I don't know -- that's why you went to school!"
His positive approach to life inspired all who knew him. His glass was always full, and it was always full of lemonade, not lemons. “There’s always a way if you just try,” was his approach to life’s situations. His sweet spirit touched many lives. His mail route “children” and their children talk about him with love and adoration – to this day.
In 2003 after suffering a stroke, Ralph relocated to Dallas where, through determined rehabilitation, he regained most of his vitality. A few years ago, when a doctor told Mr. Perkins that he should make it past 100 years of age, Ralph responded, "I'd make it to 110 if not for that stroke."
A lifelong sports fan who once played semi-pro baseball, Mr. Perkins continued to closely follow Mississippi college sports teams and Major League Baseball, and in recent years, enjoyed swapping calls and texts from young relatives as they developed bonds with those same teams.
Mr. Perkins made many new friends in Dallas, quickly winning their love, encouragement, and admiration. He enjoyed many ball games, visits, dinners, and celebrations with them.
On the occasion of his 99th birthday, Ralph's great-nephew, a journalist in Memphis, interviewed him for a series of short videos relating past episodes in his life. These may be viewed at https://goo.gl/LxYtkc.
Hundreds of friends and family helped Ralph celebrate his 100th birthday in Calhoun City. The Texas Legislature recognized him with a resolution, a medal, and a flag that flew over the Texas capitol on his birthday December 19, 2015.
In addition to his two daughters, Mr. Perkins leaves behind his six nieces and many great-nieces and great-nephews and their children who delighted in Uncle R.J.’s presence as well as Myrtice’s nieces and nephews and their families. He loved them all dearly.
Graveside services will be held at Pinecrest Memorial Gardens north of Calhoun City, Mississippi at 1:00 P. M. on Saturday, June 10, 2017, followed immediately by a memorial reception in the fellowship hall of Derma Baptist Church located at 213 North Main Street in Derma, MS 38839. Family and friends are welcome to attend both celebrations.
Final committal will be in Arlington National Cemetery at a later date to be announced.
Pryor Funeral Home of Calhoun City, Mississippi has charge of the service.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be made to either of the following organizations:
Disabled American Veterans
c/o Billie Hitt
541 Hwy. 8W
Calhoun City, MS 38916
American Legion, Post 50
c/o Robert E. Gosa,
American Legion DSO
PO Box 534
Calhoun City, MS 38916