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Joseph Russell Perkins

December 25, 1925 April 29, 2020
Joseph Russell Perkins
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Obituary for Joseph Russell Perkins
Joseph Russell Perkins, Architect died on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 at the age of 94. Joe was born on Christmas day in 1925 in Brookhaven, MS to James Martin Perkins and Gladys Furr Buckner. After being discharged from the Navy in World War II, where he served as a Naval Air Cadet, he attended the University of Oklahoma where he studied under the esteemed Bruce Goff and graduated in 1952 with a degree in architecture. Moving back to Jackson, MS he married Mary Elizabeth Thames (Liz), and they raised five children. He practiced architecture in Jackson, MS for 45 years with a personal design philosophy that emphasized individual creativity. Later in life he concentrated on an art practice, which included painting, sculpture, wood/metal mixed media and designing jewelry.
Joe and Liz enjoyed traveling, music, great food, a dry martini and having friends over for cocktail/dinner parties. He always had a story to tell, either about friends, family or his own life experiences. Many of those stories revolved around Warren Farmer and Tony Byrne who lived in Natchez, Joe’s favorite city. He loved the city for its architecture, his wonderful Natchez friends and all the wonderful characters who live there. After almost every story ended, Joe would pause, look around the room and say firmly…. “true story”.
Joe was an avid tennis player, and with his lifelong tennis partner, Tony Klinger, they played many matches against their buddies Joe Harris, Ralph McDaniel, David Levy, and Jim Stanley at River Hills Racquet Club where he was a member for 40 years. They were very competitive individuals. Over the years, they could not always agree on the many close line calls, which made them a fun group to watch. You’ll have to ask Tony and Ralph about that.
Joe had a passion for historic Mississippi architecture and spent many weekends over the years personally renovating two antebellum homes in Port Gibson, Mississippi. He saved both the Shreve House on Church Street and the O’Hara Cottage on Farmer Street from succumbing to the elements. Both are now on the National Historic Register.
Joe was preceded in death by his father, James Martin Perkins, and his mother, Gladys Furr Perkins Buckner; his wonderful wife, Mary Elizabeth Thames Perkins, and his brother, Robert Cave Perkins. He is survived by his younger sister, Virginia Perkins Gillis Munafo (Paul); five children, Pam Smithson, Rusty Perkins (Katherine), Gina Peterson (Mike), Mary Perkins, Beverly Robertson; and seven grandchildren, Joe Peterson, Pat Peterson, Peter Peterson, Mary Elizabeth Smithson, Anna Robertson, Olivia Perkins, and Ethan Perkins.
A private family graveside service will be held Saturday, May 2, at Wintergreen Cemetery in Port Gibson. Many cocktail parties are being planned by family and friends to celebrate his life when we can.
True Story
Donations to honor his memory can be made to Wells United Methodist Church, Jackson, MS.
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Cemetery Details


Wintergreen Cemetery Final Resting Place

East Greenwood Street
Port Gibson, MS 39150

East Greenwood Street Port Gibson 39150 MS
United States

Memorial Contribution

Wells United Methodist Church

2019 Bailey Ave
Jackson, MS 39213

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