Thurman L. Perkins
Thurman L. Perkins, 92, Hereford, Ariz., died January 30, 2010, at home, surrounded by his wife of 69 years, Mary Elizabeth and his three children. He died of complications of Parkison’s disease and military service-related colon cancer.
He was born in Independence, Kan., in 1917. His family moved to California when he was a child. He married his childhood sweetheart, Mary Elizabeth Meier, also of Azusa, Calif., in 1940.
He graduted from La Verne College and was inducted into the United States Marine Corps in 1942, having signed up the day after Pearl Harbor.
Assigned by the legendery Second Marine Division, he served in the Pacific campaigns all through World War II. He participated at Tarawa, Saipan, Tinian and Okinawa. He was the first commander to engage Communist Chinese troops in mainland China.
He visited Ground Zero at Heroshima, Japan, two months after the nuclear strike. He was a highly decorated hero of World War II truly one of the “Greatest Generation.
He retired from the Marine Corps in 1967. He became a teacher of English and history. Retiring again, he and his wife bought and restored a historic farm in Pennsyvlania with their youngest daughter, Kristine. He an Mary resumed their nomadic ways after Kris graduated from high school and went off to college. They travelled from coast to coast, njoying the RV life.
Settling again, this time in Parker, Ariz., they built a solar adobe home brick by brick. Their daughter, Kathleen, helped make bricks and their son, Thurman Jr., provided a lot of sweat, muscle and good cheer. Mary Elizabeth decorated the home with beautiful artwork.
In 2004, he and Mary joined their daughter, Kathleen, and her husband, Mike Sandoval, at home in Hereford.
He is survived by his wife, Mary Elizabeth; son Thurman Perkins Jr., Las Cruces, N.M.; daughter Kathleen Sandoval and her husband, Mike, Hereford; daughter, Kristine Dixson and her husband Will, Cleveland, Tenn.; four grandchildren and eighth great-grandchildren.
Services with military honors were held at the Southern Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery at 11:00 a.m., Friday, March 12.
Memorial donations may be made to the Parkinson’s foundation at www.parkinsonorg.