Lucy Perkerson, 102: Never had time to slow down

At the age of 102, Lucy Perkerson, rarely had time to slow down.

A former first grade teacher, she had been retired longer than she actually worked.

Her children said she still exercised daily.

She was an avid bridge player and traveled the world until her late 80s.

"Everything was very interesting and a great experience for her," said her daughter, Jane LeMaster, 65, of Toccoa. "She was always the most positive, fun-loving person, ready to go. Even last week, she wanted to get in the car and go."

Even last Sunday, Mrs. Perkerson got up early and caught a ride to Oglethorpe Presbyterian Church, where she had worshiped for years.

Lucy Perkerson died Monday of a heart attack at Piedmont Hospital, where she had been taken from her Buckhead home. A funeral service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday at Oglethorpe Presbyterian Church. Burial will follow at Westview Cemetery, 1680 Westview Dr.

Mrs. Perkerson was born Sept. 26, 1909, to Alvin Lee Richards and Jessie Richards in Atlanta. She was the oldest of four and each of her three brothers lived at least until their mid-80s.

"They got good genes," said her son Edgar Perkerson III, 67, of Social Circle.

Her son and daughter said Mrs. Perkerson often recounted stories from a very different Atlanta, where she witnessed first-hand, "from the sticks of Spring Street" the birth of things that are now common.

"She always talked about growing up in Atlanta," Mrs. LeMaster said. "They had the first car in the neighborhood and she always talked about her daddy's first car and how every Sunday afternoon they would go for a ride. He would ask them where they wanted to go and they always said ‘Stone Mountain or to the river.' They also had the only phone in the neighborhood, so people would come by and ask to use the phone quite often."

Mrs. Perkerson graduated from Girls High School in 1927 and Shorter College in 1931.

While her children are unclear on the date, Mrs. Perkerson married Edgar J. Perkerson Jr. somewhere around 1940. Edgar Perkerson Jr., soon enlisted in the Army during World War II and the couple briefly lived in Alabama, where he was stationed at what was then Camp Rucker.

After the war, they moved back to Atlanta, where Mrs. Perkerson remained.

Mrs. Perkerson settled on education. Her son said for a while she opened and ran a kindergarten in Chamblee.

Eventually, Mrs. Perkerson became a first grade teacher, mostly in DeKalb County. She retired in the early 1970s, shortly after her husband died in 1971.

"She liked to say that she had been retired longer than she worked," said Mr. Perkerson III.

But even though she was retired, she hardly slowed down.

Mrs. LeMaster said that she was part of a traveling group of seniors and often traveled with her younger brother, Robert, to cities in Europe and Asia. On one of their last trips together, Mrs. Perkerson and her brother went to Alaska. While there, they took a helicopter to one of the northernmost points in the United States.

Aside from her son and daughter, Mrs. Perkerson is survived by four grandchildren, Heather Barrett and William Perkerson, both of Atlanta, Robert LeMaster of Cordele and Andy LeMaster of Athens; and three great-grandchildren.