Sun | Sep 15, 2019

‘She was a treasure’ - Elaine Perkins remembered fondly as loved ones bid final farewell

Published:Tuesday | August 20, 2019 | 12:16 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer
From left: Niece Carol Perry, grandson Eden Strang, and sister Barbara Francis read tributes at the funeral of Vivienne Elaine Perkins at Roman’s Funeral Chapel on Dunrobin Avenue in St Andrew yesterday.
From left: Moveta Munroe, Barbara Francis and Maureen Wong view the body of Vivienne Elaine Perkins before the start of the thanksgiving service yesterday.
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Former radio producer Vivienne Elaine Perkins was remembered in a service punctuated with tears yesterday as family, friends and media colleagues gathered to pay their final respects to a woman they recall as a lover of good stories.

Perkins was predeceased by her husband, Wilmot ‘Motty’ Perkins, who hosted the talk show ‘Perkins Online’ on Power 106FM, of which she was the producer.

At the thanksgiving service at Roman’s Funeral Chapel yesterday, close friend Velia Espeut remembered her as a storyteller.

“She shared stories about her life – her journey through life after her mother’s passing. She would remind us of the milkman that would pass her gate and the fishermen who would bring fish to her house. She would share those things with us. She was a treasure,” Espeut shared.

She said they would often go to the bar to have a few beers – maybe even a cigarette – and the men delighted in hearing Perkins’ stories.

Espeut remembered Perkins for “her joy and her astuteness”, adding that “she needed things done and she would get it done”.

Espeut said she and her husband, Peter, were proud to be friends of the Perkinses.

She recalled that when Motty died in 2012, the widow’s remarks were, “The love is gone.”

Espeut ended her tribute of a beautiful rendition of Roberta Flack’s The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.

Stood by each other

Barbara ‘Mitty’ Francis, one of Perkins’ younger sisters, said their mother passed away when she was only nine years old. Their father, who worked at The Gleaner Company, instilled in them good principles and they stood by each other throughout the years.

“I can always remember having the Times newspaper ... . We had a really happy childhood, and when Elaine became a writer, we were so proud. Papa was so proud of Elaine,” Francis expressed.

Carol Perry said her aunt was instrumental in her upbringing and tried to give her the gift of reading.

“Aunt Elaine could have bought me anything as a child growing up in Jamaica, but she always bought me books,” she said.

She admitted that she did not gravitate to it, but it was later transferred to her son, Tony.

Dulcimina: Her Life in Town was a radio drama series written and produced by Perkins, and according to Perry, her aunt said God gave the story to her in a dream.

Perry recalled that when she visited Perkins at her home in Rock Hall, St Mary, she would admire her as she worked on her script on the typewriter.

“Then she would go to the radio station and they would record the story, and then about three weeks later, we all gathered together, around 7:30 to listen to Dulcimina,” she said.

The Power 106 staff said Elaine was a sophisticated and punctual woman.

“She was a no-nonsense person,” Cynthia Mitchley reflected as she spoke of the Perkinses working on the talk show. “Lunch would be on time and he would have his lunch and she would say, ‘Okay, Motty! Time to get on! Time to get on!’”

Elaine Perkins died on July 26 at the age of 84.

judana.murphy@gleanerjm.com