Remembering my Father in Law

Memories of Howard Perkins, from Daughter in Law  June Perkins

Howard Perkins pictured with his dear wife Helen, and my three children (his grandkids from Queensland).

15th February 2021

The very first time I met Howard Perkins, after visiting the Perkins’s house after a teaching service trip with his son David, he said, ‘You know he’s a good catch,’ about David, with David standing there and blushing, much to his embarrassment.  His Dad was keen for him to be married and figured I might be the one.

At the time David and I were friends, only having just met, but a few days later David knew we would be married.  His Dad had picked it before he did though.

We lived with Helen and Howard for two years in Melbourne about one year after we married having moved from Tasmania my childhood home.  During which time several other people lived with them also including their daughter, Tahirih.  Howard opened their home to anyone in need beyond just his biological family.  Both Howard and Helen loved their children dearly and wanted to see them spiritually happy and well educated and they were devoted Baha’is.  David suffered some major health issues in the years before I met him and his family had thought they were going to lose him. Thankfully he survived and thrived.

Although Howard, never had a degree himself, and used to joke, ‘I could ride through a uni with a thermometer and measure the degrees’, he had an university level knowledge of coins.  And it was through coins that he found out about the Baha’i Faith through his friend Alan Burnell, also a coin dealer.  Howard was the only family member other than David able to attend my university graduation from Melbourne University and it was special to have him share that day with David and I. Later he would proudly attend David’s PhD graduation.

There are so many legendary stories about Howard that David likes to tell to the children and me,  and youth groups and close friends which in time they will hopefully all be recorded, but there were also many special moments just for family.

We visited Helen and Howard a number of times in Melbourne over the years, but it became more challenging as we moved farther and farther away.  Following in Howard and Helen’s inspiring footsteps we decided to home front pioneer, first to Armidale and later for nearly a decade to Far North Queensland.  Howard and Helen spent many years in Tonga, and stories of this time are also legendary to the Perkins family. 

A special time was just after Sandon was born, Poppy and the whole Perkins family (David’s brother sister their kids and friend who became like family Eva) came to visit us in Tuross Head.  All the more special because such total family gatherings would become rarer and rarer over the years.

One of the most special times was a visit Poppy Perkins made on his own to see his grand kids when we lived in Feluga, just outside of Tully.  He played cricket and went fishing and on bush walks with the family.  He said he had been a bit busy to do some of these things with David when he was a small boy and in a way was making up for lost time in childhood. 

We also made it to Howard and Helen’s surprise 50th wedding anniversary celebration in Melbourne, which was a super special time for the whole family and none of us will ever forget the look on their faces when they arrived to a hall full of friends and family to celebrate their accomplishment.

By the time we lived closer to Melbourne relatively speaking (Brisbane), Poppy was no longer well enough to travel very far, so we made one family visit in the last three years, and also David and his grandson Ben were able to make a special visit about a year ago.

Although physically distant, Poppy made sure to ring, and was keen to sometimes help us out when we didn’t have much in the way of finances whilst we were studying and raising our young family.  And this was the way of Howard Perkins, he helped everyone, and gave much of what he had away.

Poppy Perkins, also was a very caring in law, who in many instances assisted my parents when they needed it.  My Mum said she will never ever forget his kind and accepting nature to always see the potential for the best in everyone, a quality she also shares. My Dad also had immense respect for him as well.

Howard with his son David and David’s kids. Poppy visiting Far North Queensland..

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