Obituary

Alan Wallace Perkins, adventurer, scholar, woodworker, storyteller

Woodstock, Vermont — Alan Wallace Perkins, 83, of Woodstock, died Nov. 13 at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

He was born Jan.2, 1937 in Framingham, Mass. His adoptive parents were Mildred (Morgan) Perkins of Lexington, Mass. and H. Edward Perkins Jr. of Bridgewater. Throughout his childhood, his father’s work as an engineer took Alan from Arlington, Va., to Newport, Vt., and Hamden, Conn. But home base was always his grandparents’ farm in Bridgewater, where his grandmother maintained a community lending library and he accompanied his grandfather on visits to oversee the poor.

Alan graduated from Hamden High School and from Northwestern University in 1959, with a degree in history, later pursuing graduate studies at Clark University. He worked as a journalist for Worcester (Mass.) Telegram & Gazette; as director and curator of the Drake Well Oil Museum in Titusville, Pa.; as a commercial photographer for his own company, The Image Farm in Bridgewater; as a planner for the Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Planning Commission; as an administrator for the North Chapel Universalist Society in Woodstock; and as a census taker and a postmaster in Bridgewater. Alan’s career choices reflected his wide interests in history, technology, the arts and community service.

Alan enjoyed traveling by motorcycle across the continent from Hudson Bay to the American Southwest; flying his light aircraft; canoeing and sailing from New England to the Caribbean. He enjoyed hiking, camping, birdwatching and photographing the great outdoors, as well as visiting historical sites, museums and events, including the Tunbridge World’s Fair, the Vermont History Expo, and the Northeastern Atlatl Championships at Chimney Point.

Alan was an avid scholar, reader and debater of history, politics, theology, environmental and justice issues— but also fiction and poetry, from Delderfield to Hillerman and from Ogden Nash to Wendell Berry. A skilled woodworker, he built his own bookcases as well as constructing many of his museum exhibits and later restoring his farmhouse in Bridgewater. He loved computering. But his passion was classical music, particularly early sacred music, Bach, Beethoven and the pipe organ. He was a Red Sox fan. A lifelong learner, he took classes with Woodstock’s Learning Lab. He was a volunteer with the Thompson Senior Center in Woodstock, where he also enjoyed taking part in an oral history project and one partnering seniors with Woodstock High School Students.

Throughout his life, Alan was active in Unitarian-Universalist and Congregational churches, and later with the Vermont Conference of the United Church of Christ. He was a member of Grace Congregational Church in Rutland active with its Jubilee Justice committee.

Alan will be remembered as a gentle, friendly and generous soul with a wry sense of humor, and above all, as a storyteller with an astonishing memory for detail and a rich repertoire drawn from his far-ranging adventures and experience.

Alan was divorced and had no children. He is survived by cousins George Lockwood of Burlington, Wash.; Jerry Lockwood of Homewood, Ill.; David Lockwood of Md.; Paul Lockwood of Woodstock, Ill.; John Charbeneau of Stuarts Draft, Va.; Anne (Charbeneau) Zapanta of Lorton. Va.; Alison (Charbeneau) Bryant of Belmont, N.H.; Abigail Charbeneau of Penacook, N.H.; and by his longtime companion, Janice Prindle of South Woodstock.

Donations in his memory to the Thompson Senior Center would be appreciated. Arrangements, for a future date to be determined, are under the care of the Cabot Funeral Home in Woodstock. An on line guest book can be found at cabotfh.com

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