A Fort Worth man feels that his parents’ love story is one that others would want to hear. And he just might be right.
Dee and Elaine Perkins of Southlake celebrate their 72nd wedding anniversary Tuesday. On Monday, son Kent Perkins and his wife, Ruth, sent the the Star-Telegram a long message about their undying love, which started when both were in college. “Mom was a ‘Campus Beauty’ and for Dad it was love at first sight,” Kent Perkins wrote.
Staying true to the wedding vows they took March 14, 1945, in Alexandria, La., the couple stayed together through thick and thin, in sickness and in health, through struggles and triumph, in poverty and in wealth.
“Looking back, it’s apparent they did a lot of things right. The hard way. The old fashioned way,” Kent Perkins writes. “They raised their kids in the church, asked the blessing at mealtime, and thanked God for life, health and each other every day.”
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Dee Perkins joined the Air Force, served in World War II, then came home to start a family with his wife.
Four years later, “realizing he had to get out of the backwoods of Louisiana in order to make a better life for his wife and kids,” he bought a used 19-foot trailer and the couple left Louisiana with everything they owned, including their entire savings of $200 cash, in a 1939 Chevy coupe.
Their first Fort Worth home was a converted chicken coop — a one-room hut with a dirt floor, no bathroom and no kitchen.
“It wasn’t much, but it was all they could afford. And they never even considered asking anyone for help,” Kent Perkins said.
From there, Dee Perkins would get a job at Convair (later General Dynamics, Lockheed) while he continued his education, not stopping until he had three degrees, including a master’s degree from Texas Christian University.
He later started his own aircraft parts company employing hundreds of people as Lockheed’s only replacement parts competitor, and co-founded one of the most successful investment firms in Fort Worth, managing billions in assets before finally selling their stock to a huge Wall Street conglomerate.
Along with Kent Perkins, the couple raised three other boys: Randall C. Perkins of Southlake, Steven D. Perkins of Arlington and Dan C. Perkins of Dallas. They have six grandchildren.
Dee Perkins finally retired a few years ago. Today, at age 90 and 92, Kent Perkins said his parents are hard to keep up with, adding, they are the “two real heroes in my life, and in the lives of my three brothers and their children.”
Susan McFarland: 817-390-7984, @susanmcfarland1