Arthur Perkins, 87, of Merrill, died on Friday, June 4th , at Aspirus Hospital in Wausau.
He was born on March 14, 1923, in Boyd, Wisconsin. He was the son of Elizabeth (Jackson) Perkins and Arthur Perkins, Sr. When they were killed in a car crash, Art, age 13, became the foster son of Frank and Mayme Drace, who were kind and loving parents to him.
He attended St. Joseph's School in Boyd and the Boyd Public High School. In his high school years he played baseball for the Boyd Bee's Ball Club.
He entered the United States Army in 1943. He served in the 3rd. Infantry Division. He once said that his sole claim to fame as a soldier was that he shared a fox hole with Audie Murphey, the most decorated soldier of World War II. Art was awarded the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, the good Conduct Medal and various other medals for the theaters of war he fought in. In 1945 he was given an honorable discharge from the Army and a special citation from President Truman.
After the army, he attended the Platteville State Teachers College and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1950. He began teaching Industrial Arts at the Phillips High School in the fall of 1950. He taught in Phillips until 1962.
On December 30, 1950, he married Marion Hemmerich in Wausau. In 1962 they moved to Merrill where he taught woodworking in the Merrill High School for six years. He enjoyed woodworking and made beautiful cedar chests for his wife and daughters and many toys for his children, toys that were again played with by his grandchildren.
In 1968 he began dairy farming, an occupation he had learned as a growing boy. He served 2 terms as assessor for the town of Merrill.
Art loved baseball. He played baseball for the Phillips Merchants in the Wisconsin Valley League for 10 years until the team disbanded. He was an ardent Cubs fan.
He enjoyed deer hunting both with the rifle and with the bow and arrow. He was a member of the Lincoln County Sportsman's Club.
He also enjoyed playing cards: Sheephead was his favorite game.
He was a member of the American Legion from 1946 until present day. He served in the offices of Chaplain, Adjutant, and Commander. He was also a member of the VFW, the DAV, and the Order of the Purple Heart.
Art was a member of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Merrill. In Phillips he was a member of St. Mary's Church and its Holy Name Society.
Art had a great sense of humor and enjoyed making people laugh.
He is survived by his wife, Marion, of Merrill; one son, Gregory Perkins of Florence, OR; two daughters, Jean Perkins of Gladstone, MI and Kathleen (Kent Archie) Perkins of Warrenville, IL. two grand daughters, Madelaine and Rachel Archie of Warrenville, IL; two sisters, Grace Curtis of Phoenix, AZ, and Ruth Steinberg of Altoona; four sisters-in-law: Donna Perkins of Sun City, AZ; Dorothy Wilund of Rhinelander; Ruth Benson of Irma; and Virginia Hemmerich of Hendersonville, TN; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by an infant son, William, and one brother, Albert.
A funeral Mass will be held 1:00 PM, Tuesday, June 8, 2010, at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Merrill. The Rev. James Horath will officiate. Burial will take place in St. Francis Catholic Cemetery, Merrill. Friends may call from 4PM until 8PM, Monday, at the Waid Funeral Home and again on Tuesday at the church from 12:30 PM until the hour of services. A prayer service will be held 7:30 PM, Monday at the Waid Funeral Home.
The Waid Funeral Home assisted the family with the arrangements. Online tributes may be made at www.waidfuneral.com .