W. Richard “Dick” Perkins ’53

W. Richard “Dick” Perkins, CLU, 85, of Atlanta, passed away peacefully at home Thursday after a valiant battle with lymphoma.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Ira Dennis & Rena Violet Tucker Perkins, and his brother, Lionel Max Perkins.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Mary Ann Fuller Perkins; three children and spouses: Ricanne & Charlie Birchmore, Tuck & Patty Perkins, and Scott & Cindy Perkins. “Poppy’s” beloved grandchildren include Jennifer B. & Ryan Glore, Clint Birchmore, Kevin & Dana Perkins, Callie Perkins, James & Maggie Perkins and Keegan Perkins, and two precious great-grandchildren Mary Jeslyn Glore & Georgiana Glore.

Mr. Perkins graduated from high school in Marion, VA, attended Emory & Henry College before joining the US Army in 1948 along with five of his closest friends. This group fondly remains the “Jackson Five” with annual reunions today.

After playing football on the all-Army team, he was recruited to play football for Davidson College, where he met his bride-to-be Mary Ann during college weekend visits to UGA & Georgia Tech. They married in 1953, and moved to Atlanta in 1954. Active in the Atlanta Jaycees, he won the national US Jaycee Speak-Up Contest in 1957, and gave speeches all across the country.

Early members of Cherokee Club, Dick played golf and was a charter member of the “Big Table” group. He was proud to be the Club Gin Rummy Champion. Dick enjoyed sculpting and wood carving, and won prizes at art fairs. He enjoyed fishing at his beloved Lake Burton, and all over the world. A man of great gumption and determination, Dick bought a car before he could drive, and a plane before he learned how to fly.

In 1965, he was chosen to be a White House Fellow, part of President Johnson’s advisory staff. Sixty years ahead of his time, in 1963 (along with his partner in Columbus, Ohio), Dick pioneered the concept of self-funded insurance, a commonplace concept in today’s world.

His firm, Executive & Employee (“E&E”) Benefit Plans became the oldest and largest third-party administrator in the country, with seven offices nationwide. He helped found and was the first president of the Society of Professional Benefit Administrators.

Dick’s love of words and the spoken word led him to create many poems for family weddings and friends’ birthdays, summarizing the person’s life. They became so popular read by him as eulogies that some Buckhead friends insisted on him writing theirs before they died, so they could see what he had to say about them. Cherokee Club appointed him their “Poet Laureate”.

He was a loyal and devoted friend to many. He was in the process of writing a book about his own life and times, and the insurance industry as he changed it. A collection of his poems for print is in progress. Dick’s works have been published in several newspapers and Reminisce magazine.

Funeral services will be held at Northside United Methodist Church, 2799 Northside Dr. NW, Atlanta GA 30305 on Tuesday, September 22nd, at 2:00 p.m. Interment at Arlington to be held privately at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to either Salvation Army or to Weinstein Hospice, who took such wonderful care of him, at 3150 Howell Mill Rd. Atlanta GA 30327 or through their website weinsteinhospice.com.

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