Frederick Perkins, 93, Exxon executive, loved gardening, cooking, genealogy, singing, painting
Frederick Myers Perkins Jr. passed away peacefully on Thursday, January 27, 2022 at his home in Houston. He was 93 years old.
He was born on October 7, 1928 in Tallahassee, Florida, spending his childhood in Jacksonville, Florida. He often spent his summers with his grandparents Thomas Eugene Perkins and Marie Myers Perkins (Papaa and Mamaa) in Perkins Beach, Florida.
It was at a young age that Papaa taught Fred how to fish and hunt small game in coastal Florida, outdoor passions that Fred nurtured throughout his life.
He graduated from Landon High School in Jacksonville in 1946 and was always eager to reconnect with alumni at reunions and other events. Immediately after graduation, at the age of 17, Fred joined the United States Army. He was eventually stationed in Japan during the reconstruction period after the end of World War II.
Like so many of the greatest generation, after his discharge from the military, Fred used the GI Bill of Rights to attend the University of Florida where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemical engineering with honors. He has also been accepted into three academic honor societies: Sigma Tau, Gamma Epsilon, and Phi Kappa Phi. Additionally, Fred became a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity.
It was through a blind date arranged by a frat friend that Fred first met Rosemary Ross. Fred and Rosemary were married on December 21, 1950. They remained married until Rosemary passed away in 2016, just weeks after their 65th wedding anniversary. Fred and Rosemary have remained active in University of Florida events over the decades and have always watched their Gators play football.
In 1952 Fred started working for Humble Oil & Refining Company in the research department in Houston. After 10 years working in production research, he took a job as a petroleum economist at Standard Oil of New Jersey’s headquarters in New York.
During this first stint in New York, the family lived in Darien. Within a year, he was transferred to Houston as an area engineer at Humble’s production headquarters.
In 1965 the family moved to New Orleans where Fred became a division tank engineer. After a short stay in New Orleans, in 1966 the family moved to Corpus Christi, where Fred was first appointed assistant division manager and then full division manager in 1968.
In 1970 the family moved to Sydney, Australia where Fred was appointed Deputy Managing Director of Esso Australia Ltd. The family moved back to Houston in 1972 when Fred was appointed general manager of natural gas for Exxon Company, USA.
In 1976, Fred became vice president of production for Exxon. In 1979, he transferred to corporate headquarters in New York and held several positions, including assistant production manager, vice president of gas, and vice president of production.
During this second assignment in New York, the family once again lived in Darien. Fred’s last transfer was back to Houston in 1986 when he became president of Exxon Production Research Company. During his time in research, Fred received three US patents.
Fred and Rosemary loved to travel and have visited dozens of countries in their lives. One of the specific purposes of their travels was genealogical research, which took them to Salt Lake City, various locations on the eastern seaboard of the United States, and even to the United Kingdom.
As a teenager, Rosemary began researching her family’s genealogy, which piqued Fred’s interest in researching her own family roots. After decades of extensive research, Fred and Rosemary have traced parts of their family history back over 400 years. Both also documented their family history in books.
In addition, Fred has written an autobiography which his children will publish soon. If you are looking for the 1,000 page version of this obituary, please speak to one of his children for a copy of Fred’s autobiography.
As overseas travel ended in the 1980s, Fred bought a beach house near his home on Galveston Island. This nearby location allowed for frequent weekend visits to relax, cook, fish, and entertain friends and family.
Another interest shared by Fred and Rosemary was gardening. They were master gardeners and created gardens in many of their homes. Fred’s specialty was tomatoes, which he grew from seedlings.
He was very particular and noted the weight of each tomato he harvested. From fig trees to apple trees, butternut squash to green beans, Fred and Rosemary’s gardens produced delicious fruits and vegetables.
So it was only natural that gourmet cooking would emerge as another favorite pastime. Fred was an avid cook and was known for many culinary delights. He was probably best known for his salsa, jellies and jams, one of which earned him an honorable mention at the Texas State Fair.
Another area of specialty was cakes, pies and desserts. He generously shared his desserts with Buckingham’s senior community, earning him a mention in the Houston Chronicle.
Fred could cook food in many genres including Cajun, Mexican, Italian and BBQ to name a few, always from scratch.
Of course, with all of these edible masterpieces, the obvious next step was hosting dinner parties and celebrations, which must have numbered in the hundreds over the decades. It looked like Fred and Rosemary were always cleaning up or getting ready to throw the next party. They have been honored to be able to host family reunions in Connecticut, Houston and Galveston over the years.
As home maintenance became more of a chore, Fred and Rosemary decided to move to the Buckingham seniors’ community in 2013. Ever the patriots, they chose their second floor, centrally located apartment based on the fact that he had an excellent view of America. Flag.
They remained active in various groups. After Rosemary passed away in 2016, Fred explored many new activities at Buckingham to occupy his time. He took singing lessons and participated in the Buckingham Choir where he was featured in two solo performances.
He also joined an art group that exposed real hidden talent. Despite advanced macular degeneration, with help Fred was able to complete over 50 acrylic paintings consisting primarily of landscapes and seascapes.
After he suffered a stroke in 2017, the family hired babysitters to ensure he could maintain his healthy active lifestyle. His most recent guardians were Yanique, Sabrina, Dionne and Amanda.
The family would like to express their deepest gratitude to these caregivers for watching over Fred around the clock to ensure he was happy and healthy during his final years. The family are especially grateful to their caretaker Amanda for helping Fred with various activities ranging from cooking to socializing at Buckingham until his last day.
Fred and Rosemary were active in many charities and organizations wherever they lived, including the Boy Scouts of America, the Chamber of Commerce, and United Way, to name a few.
Frederick was predeceased by his parents, Frederick Myers Perkins Sr. and Nancy Turner Perkins; and his sister, Marie Perkins Lloyd. He is further predeceased by his wife, Rosemary Ross Perkins.
He is survived by his three children: Lucile Perkins Reed, wife of Tommy Reed of Star, Texas, Nancy Perkins of Austin County, Texas, and Matthew Myers Perkins and his wife Kim Aleah Perkins of The Woodlands. Fred is also survived by five grandchildren: Rosemary Reed Jones, Gene Frederick Reed, Travis Weldon Reed, Caroline Elizabeth Perkins and Jaxson Myers Perkins; five great-grandchildren: Sarah Lucile Jones, Tommy Alan Jones, Gene Frederick Reed, Robert Weldon Reed and Abigail Grace Reed.
Friends are cordially invited to a family visit from 4 to 6 p.m., Friday, February 4, at Geo’s library and grand foyer. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive, Houston.
A funeral service is to be held at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, February 5, in Geo’s Jasek Chapel. H. Lewis & Sons, where the Reverend Beth Case, Minister of Christian Education and Welfare, Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church, is to officiate.
Later, the family will gather for a private burial at Forest Park Westheimer Cemetery.
— an obituary of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons Funeral Directors, where online condolences can be filed.