Charles Donald Perkinson, 96, of Decatur, passed away Tuesday, May 31, 2011, at his home.
Charles was born May 4, 1915, on a farm three miles southeast of Thawville, Illinois, the son of Percy A. and Olga Mary (Patzman) Perkinson. He attended Willow Grade School and graduated from Thawville C.H.S. in 1933. He graduated from the U of I in 1937 with a triple major of Agronomy, Chemistry, and Animal Husbandry. He taught Vocational Agriculture in Colfax, Illinois, for one year. He was assistant sales manager for Crow Hybrid Corn in McLean County until called to go into the Army Air Corps that became the USAF during W.W. II. He served from 1941-1946. In May of 1943, he went overseas to the Far Eastern Air Forces the headquarters to both the 5th and 13th Air Forces. He served in New Guinea, the Philippines, and was assigned to the Inspector General Department. After the service, he had six months leave receiving his discharge in May of 1947.
Charles began accumulating equipment need for his business C.D. Perkinson Co. specializing in the manufacturing of farm fertilizer. He sold the business in 1963 when he retired and began spending time in investments.
Charles has a long history of generous giving to the Decatur community. He and his late wife Patricia, made a gift of $8 million to renovate and expand the Millikin School of Music which was renamed the Perkinson Music Center. They also made numerous small gifts including the statue and bench named B.B. They both received an honorary Doctorate from the University for their Philanthropy. In 2009 he made a $1 million gift to the Community Foundation of Decatur/Macon County. His lead gift energized the community and inspired other donors eventually leading to a $2 million match from The Grand Victoria Foundation. Today the Charles D. and Patricia A. Perkinson Communityworks Endowment supports educational activities directed by the Decatur Area Education Coalition and is the largest of The Community Foundation’s 176 funds.
Charles was a member of First United Methodist Church, Golden K Kiwanis, the Decatur Club serving as past president, Country Club of Decatur serving six years as superintendent of grounds, life long 4-H Club member, and a Rotarian. He was an accomplished musician who worked his way through the U of I playing first saxophone and clarinet in a dance band. He used the money he earned for his brand new 1937 Chevrolet.
He married Irene Peck in 1940. She preceded him in death in 1983. He then married Patricia Stoune in 1986. She preceded him in death in 2007.
Charles leaves behind his brother Russell Perkinson of Thawville, and many nieces and nephews.
He was reunited in Heaven with his parents, wives, Irene and Patricia, sisters, Alice Fuoss and Vivian Dreschel, and brother, Paul Perkinson.
Send condolences and share memories with the family at www.gracelandfairlawn.com.
Memorial contributions may be made to Millikin University.