April 13, 1930-January 18, 2020
EAST MOLINE — 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, Jan. 18, 2020, surrounded by her loving family.
Funeral services will be held 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, at Gaines Chapel AME Church, 311-19th Street, East Moline. Pastor Cyrus Burns will officiate. Visitation will be 2-5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 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.
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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 1930s 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 helped 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 longtime 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, La., Jon Anthony Perkins, Washington D.C.; five grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; sister, Gloria Binford, Las Vegas, Nev.; 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.
Online condolences may be left at sullivanellisltd.com.