Helen Maxine Perkins, 97, Pipestone, died Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016, at the Good Samaritan Communities of Pipestone.
A funeral service was Saturday, Nov. 19, at Peace United Methodist Church in Pipestone. Burial followed in New Woodlawn Cemetery in Pipestone.
Helen Long was born to Samuel and Florence (Dingler) Long on Sept. 6, 1919, on a farm in Grange Township of Pipestone County. Because of a serious children’s digestive illness requiring much medical attention, she started school at age seven. She attended District 16 rural school and graduated from Pipestone High School in 1938. In 1932 she was confirmed and became a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. After high school she attended Miss Wood’s Kindergarten and Primary Training School. When she graduated in 1940, she taught kindergarten (Saturdays) and first and second grades in Adrian.
Helen married Earl Perkins on Aug. 4, 1942, in Ehrenberg, Arizona. Due to a strict “no marriage rule” in her teaching contract, they kept their marriage a secret until Christmas break in 1942. In January 1943 she joined Earl who was stationed with the U.S. Army Air Corps in Florida. She substitute taught and worked in a dime store. In September 1944 she began teaching third grade at Kissimmee, Florida. Following Earl’s discharge at the end of 1945, they returned to Pipestone. In 1946 she taught first grade in Pipestone and then substituted for many years in the Pipestone schools. When Earl began Perkins Auto Clinic in 1948 and the real estate business in 1966, Helen was the bookkeeper and office manager. In the mid-1970s she became licensed to sell real estate. Helen and Earl retired in 1978 due to Earl’s health. They spent winters in Arizona and Florida. Earl preceded her in death on March 13, 1997. After his death, Helen continued to live in Pipestone, first in a condo and then at Ridgeview Estates in May 2005. In May 2016 she became a resident of the Good Samaritan Communities of Pipestone.
Helen belonged to Peace United Methodist Church in Pipestone and taught Sunday school and release-time instruction. She sang in the church choir for years. She also served as past president of the United Methodist Women, belonged to a circle, and most recently served on the Caring Committee. Helen belonged to the Sew and So Club, the Book Club, a bridge club, the American Legion Auxiliary, the Golden Club, and was a member of the Eastern Star for more than 50 years. She and Earl were one of ten couples who worked to start the local KOA campground. They were members of the Horseless Carriage Club, participating in activities and parades with their 1925 Velie, 1917 Model T Ford, and a 1930 Model A Ford.
Helen enjoyed her flower gardens, especially the hybrid irises, as well as music, traveling and antiques.
She is survived by two sons, Larry (Linda) Perkins of Sarasota, Florida, and Steve (Marianne) Perkins of Sioux Falls, South Dakota; three grandchildren, eleven great-grandchildren; four step-grandchildren, six stepgreat-grandchildren; one brother, Verne Long of Pipestone, and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Earl; her parents; and one brother, Donald Long.
Arrangements were by Hartquist Funeral Home of Pipestone, www.hartquistfuneral.com.