Harry Perkins

Harry G. Perkins, 89, of Johnson Lake, died Tuesday, October 22, 2019 at Cozad Community Hospital.

 A Memorial Service will be held on Friday, Oct. 25, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. at Reynolds-Love Funeral Chapel in Lexington with Pastor Bill Ohlmann, officiating.

 There will be no visitation.

He was born March 23, 1930, in the home of his maternal grandparents at Schuylerville, N. Y. Harry was the eldest of eight children born to Harry Carlton and Margaret Garnsey Perkins.

The family’s home was at Greenwich, N.Y., beginning in 1937 and was where he grew to manhood, graduating from the Greenwich Union High School in 1947.

A talent for music became apparent at an early age.  He began trumpet lessons in the sixth grade and progressed rapidly to become the first chair trumpet player in the school band and orchestra as a high school freshman.  He became the first chair trumpet in the high school band and orchestra and sang in the high school chorus.  He was drawn to dance band music and began playing in night clubs with adult musicians when he was 16.

He was awarded a music scholarship at Hartwick College in Oneonta, N.Y., planning to become a music teacher, but his enthusiasm to play rather than teach led him back to dance band music.  He left college to become a professional musician until he was drafted into the U.S. Army during the Korean conflict.

He was stationed at Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo., training as a combat engineer, but was assigned to the 6th Armored Division band until he was honorably discharged in 1953.  Married by this time, and convinced of a diminishing future of the dance band business and his place in it, he moved to Grand Island where he became a radio announcer at KRGI in 1953.  Harry was given the chance to be KRGI’s local newsman.  He learned the craft of writing and later developed the ability to report news events from the scene as they occurred.  He developed the skill of doing sports play-by-play reporting that led him to become both the news and sports director of the station until 1959.

His broadcasting career took him to Davenport and Sioux City in Iowa, Salina, Kan., and North Platte.  He remained in North Platte where he changed careers to enter the insurance and securities business in 1965. Harry was later transferred to Grand Island, then moved to Johnson Lake in 1989 where he retired from the business in 1995.

He was united in marriage with former Jacqueline Barnes, in Grand Island in 1985.  They lived at Johnson Lake and together, they shared interests in cats they adopted, Nebraska athletics, boating, golfing, gardening, and the business of the Bullhead Point Association, for which Harry served as secretary-treasurer for over 20 years.

Harry engaged in a new career when he was 70 years old.  He always enjoyed writing and found an opportunity to resume the craft he experienced as a broadcast journalist when he was accepted by the Kearney Hub to be a regional correspondent. He covered city and county governments and writing feature stories from Dawson, Gosper and Phelps counties.  He did this for about 14 years until he experienced atrial fibrillation and then retired altogether.  He often said, “I believe I enjoyed my experience with writing for the Hub more than anything I’ve ever done, “should have started earlier.”

Harry and Jackie both loved cats.  The cats they gave homes to had been abandoned.  They were kept as indoor pets, their needs met, and treated as though they were children.  All lived long lives and their keepers were highly rewarded for their kindness.

Harry is survived by his wife, Jacqueline of Johnson Lake; three children from a previous marriage, Diane O’Neil of Omaha, Calvin of Oklahoma City, Okla., and Steven of Springfield, Mo.; four grandchildren; four brothers, Lynn of Warner, N. H., James of Greenwich, N. Y., David of Hudson Falls, N.Y., and Stephen of Hillsboro, Wis.; two sisters, Marlene Waite of Plattsburgh, N. Y.,and Wendy Paracka of Newport Richey, Fla.

He was preceded in death by his parents and one sister, Demis Ann of Jacksonville, Fla.

Memorials are kindly suggested to the family for later designation.

Reynolds-Love Funeral Home in Lexington is honored to be assisting the family with arrangements. Please share online condolences with the family by visiting: reynoldslovefuneralhome.com

To plant a tree in memory of Harry Perkins as a living tribute, please visit Tribute Store.

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