Perry Lamoine Wilkins

Perry Lamoine Wilkins, recognized as a rock by his family and so many who knew and loved him, ended his earthly journey as a result of his battle with cancer on June 9, 2019. His strong, calm, gentle spirit will be deeply missed by family and friends but will continue touching lives forever.

Perry was born on December 16, 1931 in St. Louis, Missouri on what was reportedly the coldest day of the year. He began his education at Vernon Elementary, a two-room schoolhouse, in Kinloch, Missouri. He proudly attended Sumner High School, St. Louis, the first high school for African Americans west of the Mississippi. He completed his undergraduate degree at Simpson College, Indianola, Iowa, and later his Master’s Degree at Washington University, St. Louis. He served in the Infantry Unit of the United States Army during the Korean War.

Perry began his professional career as an educator in St. Louis as a fourth grade teacher. After a few years, he was selected for an administrative position in which one of his responsibilities was to help produce a weekly radio broadcast intended to inspire students districtwide. In 1969 he was recruited to Seattle where he was named to the principalship of Meany Junior High School. Following that assignment, he was appointed Director of Middle Schools and charged with developing and implementing the Seattle School District middle school program, which continues to operate to this day. During his 30 year career with Seattle Public Schools he also served as principal of Garfield High School, Sharples Alternative School and Columbia Elementary School as well as Area Director and Acting Assistant Superintendent. Whatever his position, he earned the respect of colleagues, staff, students and the community. He took a brief hiatus from Seattle Schools in the early 1980’s to head the Juvenile Justice Center for the City of Seattle.

Perry participated in the Pacific Northwest Football Officials Association for over 30 years. He performed his duties as a high school official with diligence and passion as he did his role of evaluating working members during his last years in the association. Following his retirement, Perry played pickleball several times a week for close to 20 years. He not only enjoyed the challenge and exercise provided by the sport but the company of his fellow players. He was also an avid kamado grill master, gardener, reader, mahjong player and sports fan.

Perry was an enthusiastic and seasoned traveler. He and his wife treasured their numerous visits and vacations with family on both east and west coasts, their frequent getaways to Hawaii, and their countless adventures to many other destinations throughout the country, in addition to Africa, Europe, Asia, South America, French Polynesia, the Caribbean, Mexico and Canada.

Perry is survived by his beloved wife Karen, son Eric (Pam), daughter Susan (Joseph), half-brother Charles, and a host of grandchildren, in-laws, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

A private memorial is being held to honor and celebrate Perry’s life. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Perry’s memory to Sumner High School Alumni Association Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 45225, St. Louis, MO 63145 or Simpson College Scholarship Fund, Office of College Advancement, 701 N. C St., Indianola, IA 50125.

5 Responses to “Perry Lamoine Wilkins”

  • Eric Lamoine Wilkins says:

    Dad, I will forever love your presence, guidance, support and love you shared with me and the many others you crossed paths with during your journey. You built the foundation for the full and successful life I have gratefully lived and the man I have become. I will miss you, but never forget you! My toast to you “Tears”! RIP!

  • Victoria Foreman says:

    What a wonderful man. I so appreciated Perry’s generous smile, his warm welcome, his concern for students. My deepest sympathies to Karen and his family. I can only imagine how much you will miss him.

  • Pauline Simmons Hill says:

    Hi Karen,

    My prayers and thoughts are with you and your family during this time of transitioning of a great man and leader who deeply inspired my work in SPS! Perry’s and your leadership helped to guide that which I still remember as a job well-done. May you continue to live knowing that Perry and you helped and supported many of us, and may God, your love and commitment to Perry keep you strong and blessed.
    Pauline S. Hill

  • Sharon Green says:

    My condolences to Karen and family. Perry was an inspirational leader to many of us as we began our administrative careers. His warm , welcoming personality and ability to get the job done and done right was much appreciated. May he rest in peace.

  • Ralph Scott says:

    We called him “UNCLE”…

    My sisters and I knew which Uncle that was, It was Uncle Perry, our Mother’s Brother. He was mostly all we knew from her side of the family. My memories of Uncle go back as far as I remember. I recently shared with him a time he cut my hair when I was a boy back in St. Louis. He didn’t quite recall that moment but it stands out in my mind. Who else besides my father would I have to sit absolutely still and not squirm around or feel the back of the brush?

    I will forever miss my Uncle. I pray he had a peaceful journey.

    With much love,

    Ralph K. Scott

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