Cover photo for Russell E. Perkinson's Obituary
Russell E. Perkinson Profile Photo
1919 Russell 2022

Russell E. Perkinson

November 27, 1919 — August 6, 2022

After a mere 102 years on this earth, Russell E. Perkinson passed away peacefully on August 6, 2022, at his home in Thawville, IL. Russell was born on November 27, 1919, in rural Thawville to Percy and Olga (Patzman) Perkinson. He was the fourth of five children and loved growing up on the family farm near Thawville. His first job was carrying water to the threshermen at harvest-time. He was paid $1 per day.

Russell's first classroom was in a one-room country schoolhouse near his home. He graduated from Thawville High School in 1937 and earned a master's degree in Ag Economics from the University of Illinois, graduating a Bronze Tablet scholar. After a year working at the USDA in Washington DC, he returned home to farm with his dad. Russell remained on the family farm, eventually specializing in large-scale pork production, and retiring in 2015. He often opined that everything you needed to know in life you could learn from observing pigs.

Russell was a member of the Thawville Methodist Church and later attended St Peters Lutheran Church in Thawville. Over the years he was a member of and/or led several community organizations including the Roberts-Thawville school board, the Iroquois County Zoning Board, and the Grand Prairie Seminary board. He was a founding member of the Illinois Pork Producers, a member of the U of I College of ACES Round Barn Society, and the 1992 recipient of the ACES Award of Merit. Russell served in the Peace Corps from 1972-1974, helping to develop a marketing program for cattle and caribou in the Philippines.

Russell loved to travel, and he especially enjoyed being on the road. We often heard the story of one vacation in which the Perkinson and Tammen families set off for Kentucky Lake, then headed to Cape Canaveral for a space launch, drove down through the Keys and then ended up in Niagara Falls. He traveled to Hawaii, Alaska, Germany, Sweden, Russia and China (to name just a few places that he visited.) Russell took his last trips when he was 93 and 95, driving solo cross-country, making stops in Texas, Arizona, California, Oregon and Colorado.

He loved children, particularly his grandchildren, and animals. One companion of his later years was his cat(s) Sparky. (Actually, Sparky I, Sparky II and Sparky III).

On Sept. 6, 1941 he married Arvella Scheiwe ("the prettiest girl I ever saw") with whom he had three sons, Steve, David and Douglas. After Arvella's death in 1970, Russell married Roma Hartman Elliott on June 23, 1973. ("I fell in love with 5 girls and married the oldest")

Russell is survived by his sons, Steve (Kay) of Mahomet, David (Beth) of Buckley and Douglas (Kathy) of Onarga; three stepdaughters, Susan (David) Chen of Laguna Woods, CA, Sharon (Roy) Kravitz of Beaverton, OR and Diane (David) Hewitt of Fishers, IN; sixteen grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Arvella; his second wife, Roma; his parents, Percy and Olga; his siblings, Alice (Clarence) Fuoss, Vivian (Ray) Drechsel Crist, Charles (Irene, Patricia) Perkinson, and Paul (Betty) Perkinson; and his stepdaughter, Maxine Elliott.

Friends and family are invited to attend a memorial service on Saturday, November 12 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Peter's Lutheran Church, 114 McNeil St, Thawville, Illinois 60968. The service will be followed by lunch at noon at Roberts Village Gym, Weldon St, Roberts, Illinois 60962. A Celebration of Russell's life will follow the luncheon at approximately 12:30 pm.

Memorials may be made to Christ Lutheran High School in Buckley, St Peters Lutheran Church in Thawville, Grand Prairie Seminary in Onarga, or donor's choice.

Arrangements are by the Knapp Funeral Home in Onarga.

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Starts at 11:00am (Eastern time)

St. Peter Lutheran Church

, Roberts, IL 60962

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