James Herbert Perkins, son of Clyde and Pauline (Priest) Perkins, was born March 6, 1935, in Shenandoah, Iowa, and departed this life October 28, 2017, at Kabul Nursing Home in Cabool, Missouri. He was 82 years, seven months, and 22 days of age.
Jim grew up in Shenandoah and married his high school sweetheart, Shirley Ann Leitzen, May 14, 1954, on senior skip day from school. It was six weeks before either of them told their parents they had married, so they lived apart until they made the announcement. Two sons were born to this union.
Jim’s most treasured memories involved his school years in the country school with his cousins and friends. Coming from humble beginnings, Jim started working whenever he was eight years old in the nurseries of Shenandoah and Page County to help support his family. Jim had many part-time jobs throughout his working career, but two of his favorite jobs were his 21 years spent in the Iowa Army National Guard and his 34 years as a full-time firefighter for the City of Shenandoah. He worked very hard for many years to put both of his sons through college so that they were afforded opportunities that he never had.
Biking the Wabash Trace and taking long walks with Shirley were some of Jim’s favorite pastimes. Later in years, Grandpa enjoyed taking his granddaughters for a ride in his beloved Jeep, and as they grew, the girls enjoyed driving him around and around the house. Jim was very outgoing and loved to tell his childhood, military, and firefighter stories to anyone who would listen. He loved meeting new people, and whenever he moved to Mountain Grove, Missouri, from Shenandoah, it didn’t take long before he had a large group of friends.
Jim was very proud of the fact that he had given over 12 gallons of blood during American Red Cross blood drives. That number would have been much higher if his health would have allowed him to continue to give. Saving lives and helping others was always very important to him.
Jim was saved later in life and was baptized at Hopewell Free Will Baptist Church, where he attended as long as his health permitted. Jim was very patriotic and was responsible for placing the flagpole at the church as well as putting up new flags when needed.
Besides his parents, Jim was preceded in death by one sister, Kay Merryman.
He is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Shirley Perkins of Mountain Grove; two sons, Scott Perkins and wife Tracy of Webb City, Missouri, and Jason Perkins and wife, Teresa, of Mountain Grove; four grandchildren, Zackary Perkins, Tyler Perkins, Molly Perkins, and Emily Perkins; two brothers, Bob Perkins and wife Margy of Marysville, Washington, and Ed Perkins and wife Connie of Shenandoah, Iowa; one sister, Jackie Claiborne of Forrest Grove, Oregon; and many nieces, nephews, and extended family who will miss him.
Memorial services were held Thursday November 2, 2017, at 1:00 p.m. at Hopewell Free Will Baptist Church, Graff, Missouri, with Rev. Frankie McCune officiating. Song selections were “I Want To Stroll Over Heaven With You,” “Mansion Over The Hilltop,” “Life’s Railway To Heaven,” and “Go Rest High On That Mountain,” sung by The McCunes and Molly and Emily Perkins. Burial with full military honors was in Hillcrest Cemetery under the direction of Craig-Hurtt Funeral Home, Mountain Grove. Memorial contributions may be made to the Mountain Grove Fire Department or Hope Free Will Baptist Church, c/o the funeral home.