Elvin D. (Perk) Perkins (93), formerly of Emporia, KS, passed away Saturday, February 20, 2016 at his apartment at Santa Marta Retirement Community, Olathe, Kansas.
Elvin was born on the family ranch, Elk County- Union Township, west of Howard, Kansas on May 26, 1922, the son of Ralph and Zora Root Perkins. He was the second of four children. Elvin attended primary school in the one room Union School and graduated from Howard High School in 1939. He entered the College of Emporia (Kansas) in the fall of 1939. It was while he was at the College of Emporia that he met his wife, Kathryn L (Prosser) Perkins. Elvin wanted to finish college before entering the war; he enlisted in a program that permitted him to complete his senior year, then enter US Navy midshipman school (on the Notre Dame campus) and get a commission. After receiving his commission he was sent to anti-submarine training then to Destroyer USS Trippe DD403, on which he spent his military career. The destroyer served in the Mediterranean, Atlantic and later the South Pacific where they were escorting other ships to Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Elvin and Kathryn were married in Osage City, Kansas on August 9, 1944 while Elvin was home on leave.
Following his discharge, Elvin entered Washburn Law School, in Topeka, and graduated in 1948. While in law school he clerked for several legislative committees. In the summer of 1948 they moved to Emporia to open a law practice.
Elvin’s law practice served a large variety of clients, and there he distinguished himself with his peers. He was invited to join The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and The American College of Mortgage Attorneys. Invitation to one alone as a small town attorney was rare, but two was a major testament to his skills and accomplishments. Elvin was involved with Kansas Bar (KBA) activities. He was appointed by the Kansas Supreme Court to serve on the commission that mandated Continuing Legal Education (CLE) for attorneys and then served on the KBA CLE Committee.
Elvin and Kathryn held a strong belief that they serve the community in which they lived and they both did that well. From 1951 until 1973 Elvin served on the College of Emporia Board of Trustees and as Chairman for many years; his involvement with C of E continued even after the school closed as he spearheaded the successful effort to get all the college’s debts repaid. Elvin’s legacy of service included: six years of as an Emporia city commissioner and one year as mayor; member, director and chairman of the Emporia Chamber of Commerce; board member of Emporia Enterprises, the National Teachers Hall of Fame, the Regional Development Association and the United Way of the Flint Hills. Elvin and Kathryn were active leaders/ supporters at the Emporia Arts Council, First (Emporia) Presbyterian Church and Emporia State University music programs.
Elvin’s most enduring community contribution was his role in founding, leading and growing the Emporia Community Foundation. He served on both their Board of Trustees and Board of Directors where he was Chairman of each. For his service to the community he was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Emporia Chamber of Commerce and in 2014 received a special commendation award from the Emporia City Commission for his contributions to the city.
Perk is remembered for displaying his positive outlook and being kind, gracious and generous to others. And truly, family is what Elvin cherished most. His caring, selfless love for his family was what his children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, nephews and nieces recall most. Before Kathryn’s death they loved traveling together; they enjoyed their trips abroad to explore Europe, Jamaica and Mexico as well as many months of March in south Florida. Their love of travel was launched with a honeymoon and shore leave rendezvous in New York City, home port for Elvin’s ship.
He is survived by a brother, Lynn Perkins and wife, Lois of Lawrence, Kansas; two sons and a daughter; John Perkins and wife, Linda of Parkville, Missouri, Steven Perkins and wife, Pamela of Overland Park, Kansas, Janet Jehle and husband, Charles of Overland Park; eight grandchildren, Jennifer Perkins and husband Andrew Massieon of Overland Park, Mark Perkins and wife, Emily of Leawood, Kansas, Justin Perkins of Wichita, Kansas, Taylor Brown and Tali Fagenblat of Vail, Colorado, Christopher Jehle and wife, Tally of Providence, RI, Courtney Jehle of Dallas, Texas, Tyler Jehle of Overland Park and Kathryn Jehle of Overland Park; four great grandchildren, Andrew and Sophie Massieon and Luke and William Perkins; nephews Brian Ashcraft, Overland Park and Scott Ashcraft and wife Bernadette of Kansas City, MO; numerous nephews and nieces, in-laws, colleagues and friends.
Elvin was preceded in death by his beloved Kathryn, his parents Ralph and Zora Perkins; brother Ralph Perkins and sister Louise Byer Perkins.
Cremation wishes have been fulfilled. A Memorial Service will be held 1:30 PM on Saturday, February, 27 at the Emporia Presbyterian Church, Downtown, 802 Commercial with a reception to follow at the Emporia Art Council, 815 Commercial. Private family inurnment will be in Memorial Lawn Cemetery, Emporia Kansas. A remembrance service will be held at Santa Marta Retirement Community at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to the Emporia Community Foundation- Fund for the Future. Those may be made on line or ECF, 527 Commercial Ste 501, Emporia, KS 66801. Arrangements by Signature Funerals, Kansas City, MO. 816-214-5174
You were blessed with two special parents, Steve. Missed, but never really gone.
I know you will always treasure the special memories and carry on his great legacy!
This is a lovely tribute to your dad, Steve. I am so sorry for your loss. Thanks for letting us know. We miss you.
A truly special man. Both he and Kathryn always had kind words and warm greetings for everyone. As your family honors him this Saturday, I hope that you will take a glance at yet another of his legacies. The playground outside the church serves Emporia Child Care, a non-profit organization that he helped found in 1971. I’m sure that you came not image all the lives his generosity affects. I know that your are comforted in your loss with the blessing of many warm memories.
John and Linda
My thoughts and prayers are with you. Hang on to all the great memories. My Dad died 10/26/2014 and memories help so much. Your Dad was always so nice to me.
Thank you for your comment, Yvonne. I did not realize that Dad was one that helped with the founding of the day care. I knew it was special and I actually did notice the playground outside the church as we went in on Saturday, but I had not read this comment yet. That is so special to know!
Jerilynn and I would like to tell you how much we admired your father and mother. They were such genuine and caring people and donated both time and finances to the Emporia community. Whenever I met Elvin at community events or social events, he was so engaging in the conversations we had. We are out of town and will not be able to attend the services, but your family will be in our thoughts,
Thank you for your thoughts.
Steve & Pam
Fair winds and following seas sailor.
“Boatswain… Standby to pipe the side… Shipmate’s going Ashore…”
Thank you Elvin for your service to this nation. U.S. Navy, WWII.