Perkins, Harold

January 23, 2017

Rev. Harold E. Perkins passed away January 23, 2017 at the Elliott Hospital in Manchester, NH with family at his side.

Harold was born in Newport, NH on February 7, 1931, the son of George and Natalie (Brooks) Perkins. Harold graduated from Newport High School as valedictorian of his class. At age twelve, he had become an enthusiastic gardener; he worked his way through high school as a florist's assistant. In his senior year, already turned onto history, he became a devotee of genealogical history and much of his spare time, since age thirty-one, was consumed in compiling the genealogical history of Newport and the seven surrounding towns.

Harold enrolled in Boston University, committed to becoming a mathematics teacher in overseas mission schools, a decision he had made at the Methodist Youth Fellowship Institute at Geneva Point Camp. For six years, he was an Augustus Howe Buck Scholar and Fellow, which provided nearly the whole cost of his education. In his senior year, he was president of the Methodist Student Movement at the University. He graduated from the University five times: A.B. in 1953, M.R.E. in 1955, A.M. in 1959, S.T.N. in 1965, and C.A.G.S. in 1988. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and to Pi Lambda Theta honor societies.

The Board of Missions having no place for him in 1955, he was invited to join the faculty at Boston University, teaching mathematics in the Engineering College for five years. He was an active member of the Association of Teachers in Mathematics in New England. At the same time, he became a leader in the New Hampshire Conference, in its Board of Education and its camping program. It was he who named Wanakee, its conference center. The Conference ordained him a Deacon in 1961 and certified him  as a Minister of Christian Education in 1965. He also taught for a year at Wayland High School, taught one summer for the National Science Foundation, and was a visiting professor at the University of New Hampshire for another year.

After this, Harold returned to Boston University to complete all studies for Pastoral Ministry. For three of those years, he was the Chapter Secretary of Phi Beta Kappa and twice represented the University at the National Triennial Councils.

From 1964 to 1972, Harold served as Minister of Christian Education at Asbury Church, Warwick RI, at Burnside Church, East Hartford, CT and at Wilmington, MA. Services of Prayer for Christian Unity in East Hartford and in Wilmington benefitted from his commitment to ecumenism. Over these years, he took additional training in eight laboratory schools; the nursery and kindergarten were his favorite age-levels. The New England Southern Conference ordained him an elder in 1965 and admitted him to full membership in 1968. For twenty-five continuous years he gave leadership at the conference level as an officer of the Board of Education, Board of Discipleship, Committee on the Lay Worker, Board of Diaconal Ministry, and Bureau of Conference Sessions. For several years he was a member of the Alumni Council at the School of Theology.

Christian education was Harold's supreme calling, but when full-time positions in Christian education were no longer available to men in the New England Conference, he returned to mathematics education, teaching three years at Woburn High School. Then in 1975 he joined the faculty of Bentley College, where he was a professor of mathematics for eighteen years and then closed out his career as an academic advisor to adult students. In 1985 Bentley honored him with its Adamian Award for Excellence in Teaching. That day, along with the day when he had received his Phi Beta Kappa Key, and the day when a student of his at Wayland had discovered the integral calculus for herself, were the most memorable days of his career. He retired from the college in 1997.

Even in those years when he made his living in the secular world, he also served part-time as educational consultant at St. Johns Korean Church, Lexington, for two years, as interim pastor in Saugus for eight months, and associate pastor of North Boston Korean Church, Andover, for two years. His charge conference during these years was Old South Church, Reading, MA where he lived, and where he served in many capacities in its educational ministry.

Harold made two trips to Germany on church exchanges, and for three different periods shared his home with students and families from Korea and Germany.

Harold returned to Newport in 1997 and within a few months was recruited to reopen and organize the town's Historical Museum, a task to which he devoted almost full-time for eight years. He was "called out of retirement" to teach the Advance Placement Calculus at Newport High School in 2001-2002.

He changed his charge conference to Sunapee, NH in 2006, the church of his mother and his grandparents and often assisted in services and worked on historical records.

He chose the celibate life in order to give his time to his two professions.

Harold is survived by three of his siblings; Mrs. Donald (Jennie) Brown of Williamstown, VT; Leonard Perkins of Ira, MI; and Dorothy Perkins of Denham Springs, LA and many nephews and nieces.

He was predeceased by his parents, his brother Laurence, his brother-in-law Donald Brown, and a nephew, David C. LaFleche.

A memorial and committal will be held in late June 2017 when family can attend at the Lake Sunapee United Methodist Church. Memorial donations may be made to the Lake Sunapee United Methodist Church at 17 Lower Main Street, Sunapee, NH 03782.