Glenn Ralph Perkins
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Glenn Ralph Perkins
  • August 20, 1916 - November 12, 2017
  • Ravenna, Michigan

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Glenn Ralph Perkins, the last commercial fruit grower within the city limits of Grand Rapids, passed away Sunday, November 12, 2017 at the age of 101. He is preceded in death by his wife Janet E. Perkins (Munson), son Roy Munson and his brother Don Perkins. Glenn is survived by daughter Pamela Case (William) of Phoenix, AZ, as well as grandchildren Robin McDermott (Daniel), Christopher Case (Julieta), Leslie Munson and Jennifer Munson (James Meyers), as well as 11 great-grandchildren. In the summer of 1916, Glenn was born in Grand Rapids, MI to Melbourne and Marie Perkins (Schestag). He was the younger of two boys. Glenn always cherished his older brother Don. Glenn was born, lived and worked until his retirement, on the Perkins family farm on Perkins Ave. in northeast Grand Rapids. A life-long farmer, Glenn obtained a degree in horticulture from the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan, which he affectionately called "Cow College", known today as Michigan State University. After college, Glenn worked as a rose hybrid expert. Two members of his family started Jackson & Perkins, cultivators of "The World's Finest Roses". Glenn would sometimes spend time between California and New York, participating in many rose expositions. His favorite flower was the New Dawn rose; US plant patent #1. After the passing of his father, Glenn returned home to live with his mother and to operate the fruit farm. Glenn was the only member of his family still actively engaged in farming. Even though they were the last operating orchard in Grand Rapids, they still managed to produce acres upon acres of sweet cherries, pears, peaches, and four different types of apples, bearing roughly 45,000 bushels, annually. Even in his 90's, Glenn could still be seen atop a 30 foot ladder, picking pears on what was left of his once sprawling farm. Being in the farm business that long, Glenn obtained a wealth of knowledge of the local farming community, constantly pointing out every family homestead that once stood anywhere in Kent County and beyond. Other than farming, Glenn also spent his time as an accomplished piano player, sang harmony in a men's chorus, and was an active member of his local Kiwanis Club in Grand Rapids. Glenn had another life-long love besides farming. Janet Perkins (Munson), whom he sweetly referred to as his "little girl". His mother once said, "You should find a nice girl like Janet." Glenn waited quietly and patiently for her for decades, never marrying or starting a family, for she was married to his dear friend, L. Austin Munson. In 1981, a few years after Austin passed, Glenn's dream came to fruition and at the age of 65, he made Janet his bride. With the marriage to Janet, came children and grandchildren. Glenn transitioned well with his new family and often joked about having such a large brood, though no children of his own. When asked about Heaven, Glenn once said that Heaven is right here on earth. It's safe to say, that the Heaven above has gained another angel; a humble, smart, life-loving, loyal husband, wonderful grandfather, and hardworking farmer. Rest in Peace. All of our love - your family. A Funeral Service has been scheduled to take place on Sunday, November 19, 2017, at Reyers North Valley Chapel. The service will begin at 1:00pm, following the visitation at 12:00pm. Glenn will be laid to rest near his family and beloved bride, at Fairplains Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a memorial contribution to the Alzheimer's Association.