|Birth: ||Apr. 29, 1931|
|Death: ||Nov. 15, 2005|
Services for Val (Valda) Perkins, 74, will be 11:00 AM Thursday, November 17, 2005, at the North Chapel of George A. Smith and Sons. Entombment will follow in the mausoleum of Ridgecrest Cemetery.
Mrs. Perkins died Tuesday, November 15, 2005, at home in her sleep. She was born in the Bemis Community, daughter of the late Bedford Cullie and Lillie Matilda Laycook Crider. She was a member of Bemis United Methodist Church.
Val Perkins was the widow of Carl Perkins, who preceded her in death January 19, 1998. (Valda and Carl married in January 1953)
After the death of Carl Perkins, Val remained actively involved in all of their business affairs. Her life revolved around her beloved Carl and their children.
Val Perkins was the epitome of a Southern lady who stood by her man.
That's the way Doris "Cousin Tuny" Freeman, a longtime family friend, described the widow of rockabilly legend Carl Perkins, who died in her sleep Tuesday at age 74. Her husband, a philanthropist who began the Exchange Club/Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse, preceded her in death on Jan. 19, 1998. The Carl Perkins Civic Center is named in his honor.
"Carl had a lot of things happen to him when he was younger. He used to say he'd sown his wild oats, but Val helped him collect them," said Freeman, who worked with him many hours on the Circles of Hope Telethon for the Carl Perkins Center.
"There was only one woman in his life, and that was Val," she added. "He always said he wanted to go first because he couldn't live without her. I told him that was the best work he'd done, when he got her to marry him."
Martha Bain, Carl's sister, is the one who got the two together back when they were in high school.
"Val's passing is just a complete shock to me," Bain said. "In early 1942, I started attending the Bemis Elementary School, and Val and I were in the same class. In high school, she and I got to be really good friends. We double-dated with Carl and George, my husband, who's been gone two years."
Bain said the two couples were inseparable. "She loved him so much. I used to tell her, 'I'm a really good friend of yours because I'm the one who used to push Carl to you.'"
They were the perfect match, Bain said.
Val Perkins enjoyed collecting things and sharing with friends and children in need. Libby Murphy, another family friend, recalled once when Carl Perkins went to sing and talk with two very sick teenagers at Christmas, Val went into her extensive doll collection and picked out a doll for each one.
"She was a very giving person," Murphy said.
"Both Carl and Val Perkins were vital parts of our community," said Charles Jackson, Jackson Exchange Club president in 1991, and president of the Carl Perkins Center in 1985. "I always found her to be a very gracious and caring lady. She was always very supportive in all the endeavors and undertakings of the center and was very supportive of Carl himself."
Pam Nash, executive director of the Carl Perkins Center, had known Val Perkins for 20 years, since Nash took her first job at the center. "She attended every event she could attend and was very enthusiastic about the work being done with the kids. She had a great sense of humor and was just a great friend. I don't think she ever missed a Blue Suede Dinner & Auction, and she was very supportive of the Circles of Hope Telethon. She supported Carl in everything he did."
But the legendary entertainer's wife also was a musician in her own right: a pianist and a singer. Bain and her friend Val had their own radio show about the same time Carl had his. "She played the piano, and she and I sang together before we married Carl and George. We also played at Coffee Time at 10 a.m., a brunch at a restaurant in downtown."
Later on, Val Perkins' own musical skills helped Carl in his career. "She had suggestions about his music, and he listened. She didn't always take credit for things, but even though Carl, her sons Stan and Greg are credited with the song 'Silver and Gold,' Val helped some, too."
When Dolly Parton was writing songs with Carl, she'd come to Jackson to visit. Val would fix her cornbread and Great Northern beans, which Parton loved. She also cooked special foods when Wynonna and Naomi Judd came to visit.
Yet while she tried to stay in the background, her intelligence and business acumen brought her forward.
"Val was quite a businesswoman, really," Bain said. "If she thought someone was not doing Carl the way they should, she'd speak up. She'd talk to his manager."
Freeman added, "Val always stayed in Carl's shadow, but she always had her hand on his shoulder. He always said he would not have accomplished anything without her. She was the financial leader in the family. He told me, 'Every once in a while, I slip a $100 bill in my boot, but Val takes cares of me.' "
After Carl's death, she would tell Bain, "He's not on a road trip. He's not coming back anymore."
So Bain said that while it's hard on those left behind, "Val's with Carl now, and she's happy."
"It's a celebration," Freeman added, "because they're reunited."
She leaves four children, Debbie Swift and her husband, Bart; Stan Perkins and his wife, Connie; Steve Perkins and his wife, Donna; and Greg Perkins and his wife, Dawn; all of Jackson, TN; She also leaves nine grandchildren, Shannon Langley, Carla Simmons, Suzanne Swift, Lesleigh Woodward, Jay Perkins, Chase Perkins, Matthew Watkins, Jonathan Watkins and Cody Watkins, four great-grandchildren; and a sister, Clara Crider of Linden, TN.
The Perkins family would like to extend their appreciation for the devoted care given to Mrs. Perkins by Frances Carroll, Virginia Haskins and Martha Yarbro.
Memorials may be directed to the Carl Perkins Center for Child Abuse,, 217 E. College, Jackson, TN 38301; or to the Cerebral Palsey Association of West TN, 34 Garland Dr., Jackson, TN 38305.
As reported in The Jackson Sun on 11/16/2005
Carl Perkins (1932 - 1998)
Created by: fonda flamingo
Record added: Nov 16, 2005
Find A Grave Memorial# 12381007