Calling Hours (only 10 at a time), Tuesday, January 5, 2021 from 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. at White's Funeral Home Chapel. Private Family Service (50 maximum) at 11:15 a.m., tickets are required for entry. Interment Glen Rest Memorial Estate. Services will be live streamed. The family will receive flowers at the funeral home.
Kenneth A. Perkins was born on August 9, 1917 in Coalgate, Oklahoma. He was the seventh of nine children born to Spencer and Lucy (Jackson) Perkins. To his family, he was affectionately known as “Frickey”, a devoted family man with a great sense of humor.
Kenneth was raised in a Christian home and accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior at a young age. His early spiritual education was at the First Baptist Church (Southside) in Coalgate.
At the young age of 8 years old, Kenneth’s father and older brother (Lloyd) were killed in a coal mine explosion in Wilburton, OK. From that point on, he was reared by his strong, loving, godly, single mother. She continued to instill in him Christian values, a strong work ethic, morals, the need for education, and the love of family. His commitment to family continued to be evident throughout his life. He was always ready for a “family reunion” and loved children.
Kenneth received his early education at Booker T. Washington (the “colored” school) in Coalgate. Since that school was a first through eighth grade facility, Kenneth then went to high school at Dunbar in Atoka, OK. Atoka is only thirteen (13) miles south of Coalgate, a fifteen (15) minute drive today. However, for Kenneth the round trip to and from high school was a four (4) hour, forty four (44) mile daily commute as much of the “school bus route” was on unpaved roads. The “school bus” was actually an old Chevy or Ford cab with a wooden camper type structure on the back end which had wooden benches as seats and used a kerosene heater during the winter months for warmth. Education was important so Kenneth endured and graduated from Dunbar High School in 1936.
Jobs were hard to find as this was post economic depression era. Kenneth went to the CC Camp in Konawa, Oklahoma. CC Camp was the Civilian, Conservation Corp which was a federal agency, part of President Roosevelt’s New Deal Program. It was designed for unemployed men age 18 to 25. Kenneth’s assignment was to assist with soil testing and his salary was $21 per month plus room and board.
Kenneth was drafted into the Army in January, 1942. This was one month after the December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor incident. He was inducted at Fort Sill, Lawton, Oklahoma for a “duration plus” term which meant a minimum of one (1) year plus the duration they needed you. After basic training in Mineral Wells, Texas, he was stationed in camps in Louisiana, Arizona, Mississippi, and Fort Louis in Seattle, Washington. His unit was then assigned to duty in the Aleutian Islands which are located between the Barren Sea and the Pacific Ocean, sailing there on the USS Terikoff. Although they were Army enlisted, they spent a lot of time at sea and on ship duty. Their mission was guard duty, watching the Japanese. The conditions there were horrific due to the location, the assignments, the environment and the weather conditions. Many in his unit did not make it through the Aleutian Islands experience. Some had severe mental or emotional problems and some actually froze to death from exposure. Kenneth said that he survived the two (2) year experience due to his determination to get back home to his family. Upon returning to the states aboard the USS Grant, he was sent to Fort Smith, Arkansas, where he recounted the preferential treatment that the German prisoners of war received over the Negro soldiers who had dutifully served their country. Nevertheless, he was proud to have served in the United States Army and received an honorable discharge on December 16, 1945 which was 2 ½ months after the official end date of WWII.
Kenneth was happy to return home to his family in Coalgate where he later met and married Veter Lee Richardson. Three children were born to this union.
Kenneth relocated to Columbus, Ohio, where he gained employment at the Defense Construction Supply Center (DCSC). He was employed there until retiring December 31, 1980, with 30+ years of service. He was known to be a dedicated, hardworking, meticulous employee and manager.
Kenneth met and married Alva Stewart, with whom he shared 49 years of marriage prior to her demise in December, 2000. Four children were born to this union.
Kenneth is preceded in death by his wife, Alva; his parents; his brothers James Wiley, Lloyd, Leroy, Joe, and Lewis; and his sisters Margaret, Helen, and Lucy.
On December 24, 2020, Kenneth passed away peacefully after living a “well lived” life of 103 years, 4 months, and 15 days. He is survived by his children Kenny Perkins (Kaylor), Stafford, VA; Robbie Foxx (Robert), Shawnee, OK; Viola Boulware, Midwest City, OK; Rose Vinson, Midwest City, OK; Marilyn Holt, Westerville, OH; Karen Perkins, Columbus, OH; and Sheila Butler (Will), Columbus, OH. He is also survived by ten (10) grandchildren, eighteen (18) great grandchildren, ten (10) great, great grandchildren as well as nieces and nephews Donald Perkins (Bernadine), Sharon Givens (Randolph), Cindy Perkins, John Perkins (Lyle), Carol Pinder (Stanley), Wanda Faye Hale, Ray Hale, Kim Edmondson (Al), and many other relatives and friends.
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