In Memory

Donald "Perk" Perkins

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03/28/09 12:58 PM #1    

Lucille Sena (Anlas)

DONALD F. PERKINS - March 15, 1935 - August 31, 2007


"A beautiful life that came to an end,
he died as he lived, everyone's friend.
In our hearts a memory will always be kept,
of one we loved, and will never forget.

" . . . if we live a life of goodness and show God that we care, one day we'll be invited to live with Him up there." DFP

So wrote Don in a beautiful poem called "There Are No Wars in Heaven." Upon Don's death, one of his good friends, John Dolinej, wrote the following tribute to Don:

"The poet has left, but the poetry remains. We can all reflect on the style and prose that remains as a legacy for Donald Perkins. What will follow, be it written or spoken, is not an obituary, but rather a celebration of life. Don brought erudition and culture both into his classroom teaching and life. During his residence in Lavallette, both friends and neighbors knew him as 'The Poet of West Point Island.' On a personal note, I shared cigars, brandy, and good competitive political debates on my back deck. He was deeply involved in the Irvington High School Class of '54 reunion committee and the Varsity Club. It was at many meetings of the latter that he reminded me of how, during basketball practice, he hustled me out of money in a double or nothing foul-shooting contest. This skill with wagering later led to winning the New York Post Football Picks Contest, out-hustling their entire sports department.

"He reveled in the accomplishments of his children, was the doting grandparent and loving husband. He was full of pride when relating how his wife Mary Ann, well into starting a family, earned a college degree. He tended bar to supplement a teacher's salary, but also owned half-interest in a tavern. The stories of this enterprise are just too numerous to retell.

"It is now time to quietly reflect and review the written word that Don has left us, and in our own way take counsel from his poem, 'Never Alone.'"

"An ant upon a hilltop sat
and with his neighbor had a chat.
'We're getting old, it's plain to see,
now what becomes of you and me?'
'There's a magic bush somewhere it's said,
that explains what happens to the dead.
And according to that ancient story,
ants will share a common glory.
So, enjoy these days and make no fuss,
something's watching over us.'"


Following is a beautiful tribute to Don that was writteen by one of our other talented writers from the Class of '54, Frank Racanelli:

"As I stand here today to say my goodbyes
My memories of Don bring tears to my eyes.
I recall those days when we were so young --
the laughter by day, the nights full of fun.
Perk Burgers at Val's foolish games at the diner,
Moments in time -- life couldn't be finer.
Then time turned the pages, we went separate ways,
The chapter was ended entitled 'Happy Days.'
The world kept on turning and life went by fast,
but the memories still last.
As fate would have it, our paths crossed again.
But something was different between me and my friend.
A warm sensitivity in this 'jester of olde,
the transfiguration began to unfold.
Through his verse and rhyme, his poetry,
the essence of the man became known to me.
'Thank God,' I told him in recent days,
'the words from within him left me so amazed.'
So, again I say, before we depart,
'God blessed you, Don, with a child's heart.
Your journey, now ended, homeward bound you ascend,
My last farewell, vaya con dios, my friend."

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