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OPELOUSAS -Richard Scott Perkins was born at home in Hammond, Louisiana on June 21, 1940. He was the youngest of four sons born to Gerald and Louise Young Perkins. He was close friends with his cousins, Judy and Freddie Lally. After attending first grade in Hammond, Richard decided that school was not for him and refused to attend second grade. Fortunately, he was a bright child who returned to school for third grade and continued until graduation from high school in 1958. He graduated from Louisiana State University with a degree in chemistry in 1962, and went on to earn his PhD in Chemistry from the University of Utah in 1966. It was there that he met and married Bonnie Bench in 1964. Bonnie and Richard would have two daughters together, Laura and Sara Perkins. Richard completed his postdoctoral research at the University of Ottawa in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada from 1966 to 1968.
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette (formerly University of Southwestern Louisiana) was Richard's life's work. There he served as a professor of chemistry for 48 years, teaching over 10,000 students, and was awarded the Distinguished Professor Award in 1979. As an educator Richard was devoted to his students, spending many long hours assisting them with their coursework. He retired from teaching in 2017 at the age of 76. Throughout his life, Richard maintained a sense of curiosity and love of learning, and had a keen interest in a variety of topics including astronomy and literature.
Richard was tall and thin and jogged five miles a day for most of his life. In later years, he walked daily. He especially enjoyed walking around the campus and on the stairs at the stadium. Richard had a love of nature, and enjoyed hiking in the Utah mountains during the time he spent there. In addition to staying physically fit, Richard maintained his good health through careful attention to his diet and eschewed smoking throughout his life. In spite of this, he succumbed to lung cancer on September 26, 2022 at the age of 82 after a brief battle with the disease. He lived out his final days in the home of his daughter, Laura and her husband, Eric where he was cared for by his former wife, Bonnie.
Richard approached life with kindness, humility, and humor, and will be remembered fondly by all those whose lives he touched. He is survived by his daughter, Laura Perkins and her husband, Eric Nielsen, his daughter, Sara Perkins, and by his former wife, Bonnie Bench Perkins. He will remain forever in our hearts. He is preceded in death by his parents, Gerald and Louise Perkins.
Words of Comfort for the family may be expressed at www.sibillefuneralhomes.com. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Sibille Funeral Home of Opelousas.
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