Col. Robert Perkins Sr.
Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 8, 2010
Colonel Robert Hoke Perkins Sr., USAF (ret.), 78, died peacefully at dawn on Sat., April 3, 2010, in Pensacola, Fla., with his beloved wife of 55 years, Irene Cumbie Perkins, holding his hand.
He was born Jan. 6, 1932, in Birmingham, to Robert King Perkins and Thelma Ada Bates Perkins. He graduated from Phillips High School in Birmingham in 1950, the University of Alabama in 1956, and the University of Alabama School of Law in 1959. While in law school, he worked as assistant circulation manager for The Tuscaloosa News.
Col. Perkins enlisted in the Air Force Reserve in 1949, ultimately reaching the rank of sergeant in the reserves. In 1961, he received a direct commission as a 1st Lieutenant.
During his more than 30 years in the Air Force, he served as a Judge Advocate General in Okinawa, Alaska, Alabama, Colorado, Arkansas, Texas, California, Germany and Ohio. Highlights of his service include his time at Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery where he was a nominee for Young Federal Lawyer of the Year, and time as associate professor of law at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Col. His personal awards include the Legion of Merit, four Meritorious Service Medals and the Air Force Commendation Medal. He was admitted to practice before several major courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States.
He loved travel, zoos, museums, and music – from Mozart and Wagner to Hank Williams and Johnny Cash. Most of all, perhaps, he loved the study of ancient and medieval European history.
He imbued his family with a sense of fairness to all people, a devotion to duty, and a taste for adventure. Until his last years, he loved nothing more than getting up early and getting out to see and learn something new.
He is survived by his wife, Irene; and the families of his four children – Robert Hoke Perkins Jr. and Jami A. Montambault of Charlottesville, Va.; Hilary Ellen Perkins and A. George (Skip) Battle of Berkeley, Calif.; Leslie Perkins Vilardi and CDR USN Guy O. Vilardi of Pensacola, Fla.; and Lynne Perkins Lance and Michael T. Lance of Springfield, Ill. He was the beloved grandfather of Henry, Malcolm, Hunter, Chris, Cass, Gigi, Josh, Zoe, Sarah, Dan, Emily, Brian and Jensen; great-grandfather to Naomi; and a favorite nephew, cousin and uncle of many across the United States.
A memorial service will be held Sat., April 10, at 11 a.m. at Harper-Morris Memorial Chapel, 2276 Airport Boulevard, Pensacola, Fla.
Col. Perkins’s ashes will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family request that donations be sent to Covenant Hospice of Pensacola, Fla., the Association of Zoos and Aquariums or to a charity of your choice.
Harper-Morris Memorial Chapel of Pensacola, Fla., is in charge of arrangements.