Jewell Juanita Perkins, 89, of East Moline, the first black person on the East Moline, District 37 school board and longtime activist in the Watertown area, passed Saturday, January 18, 2020 surrounded by her loving family.
Funeral services will be held 11:00 a.m. Monday, January 27, 2020 at Gaines Chapel AME Church, 311-19th Street East Moline. Pastor Cyrus Burns will officiate. Visitation will be 2:00-5:00 p.m. Sunday, January 26, 2020 at Sullivan-Ellis Mortuary, Ltd., 1902-3rd Avenue East Moline and one hour before services at Gaines Chapel AME Church. Burial will be at the Rock Island National Cemetery with her husband, Robert “Perk” Perkins, the first East Moline police officer. Memorials may be made to the Robert Perkins Memorial Fund, Black Hawk College Foundation.
Jewell Juanita Ray was born April 13, 1930 in Texarkana, Texas; the daughter of Joseph and Clara Belle (Howard) Ray. The Ray family moved to Galesburg in the 1930’s as part of the Great Migration. Her father subsequently moved to East Moline after securing employment at Deere & Co. Jewell graduated from United Township High School in 1946. In 1947, she married the love of her life, “Perk” Perkins. He passed in 1980. Jewell was a graduate of Western Illinois University with a Bachelor’s degree.
In her younger years, Jewell coached community youth minor and little league baseball with her sons. She help found the Florence Aldridge Child Development. She was constant in the D.B. Hoffman Elementary School PTA. In 1973, she was appointed to the school board where she subsequently won two terms and later became President of the Board. Jewell was the Registrar for Black Hawk College. She was a long time member of Gaines Chapel AME Church. She was active in Church Women United at the National, State, and local level; she was named Valiant Woman for Church Women United, at local, state, and regional level. Jewell enjoyed puzzles and crossword puzzles. She was an avid reader and traveler. Jewell was an excellent cook and good seamstress. She was loved by all and will be greatly missed.
Those left to cherish her memory are her children; Claranne Perkins, East Moline, Robert (Chris) Perkins, Rock Island, William (Robbin) Perkins Mandeville, Louisiana, Jon Anthony Perkins, Washington DC, 5 grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren, 2 great great grandchildren, sister; Gloria Binford, Las Vegas, Nevada, host of nieces, and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, “Perk” Perkins, son, Martin Perkins, sister, Willie Burrell, and brother, Bobby Ray.
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