Robert “Bob” Wayne Perkins, 87, of Portland, Oregon, and New Canaan, Connecticut, peacefully passed away at home on November 8th after a courageous battle with pulmonary fibrosis. His wife, Gail, of 64 years, was at his side.
Bob and Gail moved to New Canaan from downtown Portland in October 2020 to be with their two sons, Tod and Cory, and their respective families. Making a home in New Canaan has been an exciting new chapter for them in their retirement years. They have been surrounded by the love and support of their close-knit family while embracing grandchildren’s activities, new friends, and a welcoming community. To the end, Bob drew strength from this support and maintained his marvelous, quick wit, inquisitive mind, and wonderful sense of humor that endeared him to everyone he met.
Bob was born in the small rural town of Council, Idaho, on September 9, 1936. His parents were Arch and Claire Perkins. A family of four, Bob’s older sister was Janet Dunn (predeceased) of Aurora, Colorado. The seasons in Central Idaho were cold, snowy winters or hot, dry summers, and Bob spent his youth embracing this weather and the great outdoors. He and his childhood friends shared adventures together, fishing, hunting, ice skating, and ‘hooky-bobsledding’ from his grandparents’ farm hill, clear down into the heart of town. A natural athlete with his 6’2″ lanky frame, Bob’s high school days were filled with baseball, basketball, football, and track. He graduated from Council High School in 1954 as valedictorian and earned an academic and athletic scholarship to The College of Idaho.
During college, Bob played basketball and baseball all four years while earning a BA in English. He was a proud “leftie,” known for his mean curveball and a stellar jump shot. During his senior year, Bob pitched the Coyotes’ first no-hitter since 1946 against Boise Junior College (now Boise State). It took 58 years for the “Yotes” to witness another no-hitter, which occurred in 2016. Bob turned down an opportunity to play professional baseball and instead pursued what he believed was his true calling – coach, teacher, and mentor. Upon college graduation in 1958, Bob accepted his first position in education and spent the next 36 years building a successful career teaching and coaching in public schools in Idaho and Oregon. Mid-career, Bob completed his Masters Degree in Teaching at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon.
Bob and his wife, Gail, met as high school teenagers in Council, and then both attended The College of Idaho, where they fell in love. They were married in 1959 in Caldwell, Idaho, at the Presbyterian Church and in years following welcomed the births of their three sons: Tod, Cory, and Tim (who died at birth). As a young family, the Perkins moved to Estacada, Oregon, where they lived for 20 years. When their sons left home for college and careers, Bob and Gail moved to downtown Portland, where they then lived for 25 years.
Throughout his career, Bob was highly regarded as a professional educator, administrator and nurturing coach who influenced and impacted young students, athletes, their families, and colleagues. In the classroom Bob taught Literature, English, and History, but also held various administrative titles including Athletic Director, Vice Principal, and Principal. His Estacada high school basketball teams won several league championships and included multiple trips to the state playoffs. Post his coaching days, his athletic director leadership earned him Oregon School Activities Association’s (OSAA) Athletic Director of the Year. Bob retired in 1994.
Bob and Gail shared great adventures, traveling to India, Russia, Africa, Australia, Europe, Central and South America, and all 50 of the United States. He enjoyed golf, crossword puzzles, sports and playing cards. He was considered a competitive and astute poker, pinochle, and cribbage player. But, most of all, he loved spending time with family and friends. Bob’s family and friends will remember his thoughtfulness, humor, generosity, integrity, loyalty, and warm smile.
Bob is survived by his wife, Gail; son Tod and grandson Henry; son Cory, daughter-in-law Elizabeth “Zibby” Loer Perkins, and grandchildren Cameron, Colin, and Chloe. At some point in the future, Bob’s ashes will be returned to his Idaho hometown of Council.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Idaho Wildlife Federation (IWF), a non-profit organization that advocates for the conservation of Idaho’s fish and wildlife, habitat, and outdoor heritage (www.idahowildlife.org). If you donate, please let IWF know that your gift is in honor of Bob Perkins.