WEEMS—The man. The myth. The legend. Dr. Stephen Jeffrey Perkins loved his family and friends, his patients, and fresh-picked sweet corn from his garden. An emergency room physician serving the Northern Neck for the past two decades, Steve died on May 19, 2019—just weeks after his retirement as chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine and president of the medical staff for Bon Secours Rappahannock General Hospital—doing exactly what he loved, spending time with a good friend on his boat on the Rappahannock River.
Born April 18, 1960, in Plattsburgh, N.Y., Steve graduated from Ruskin High School near Kansas City, Mo., in 1978. He joined the U.S. Army and graduated with a BA/MD from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine.
The young lieutenant and his bride spent the next year stationed in Oahu, Hawaii, during Steve’s OB/GYN internship and the following two years in Heilbronn, Germany, where he practiced medicine at the Army base clinic. Steve and Julie returned to the States in 1987 when he accepted a three-year residency in emergency medicine at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. The couple was later relocated to Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, Colo., where Steve was awarded a meritorious medal for service as chief of emergency medical services in 1992 and promoted to the rank of major. There, they welcomed their daughter to the world.
Having fulfilled his commitment to the military, Steve accepted a position in the emergency department at Salem Hospital in Massachusetts, and the young family moved to Danvers. The Perkins family was complete with the birth of their son in 1994.
Yearning for a warmer climate and enough land to create a garden, the family found their way to White Stone in 1999. Steve started practice at Rappahannock General Hospital in Kilmarnock. When he wasn’t there, you could find him at home, planting trees and shrubs. Years passed, the garden grew, and the children set out on their own. Steve and Julie moved to an enchanted cottage in Wharton Grove, Weems.
Steve had an incurable curiosity and was a voracious reader. At one Thanksgiving, he declared his thankfulness for British crime dramas. He was decidedly a man of science as well as an accomplished cook. Steve was known among his friends and family for his acerbic wit, astute olfactory system, and a dauntless sense of adventure. He was sometimes known to return letters with spelling and grammatical errors corrected.
Steve is survived by his wife, Julie; daughter, Grace; and son, William; his mother, Margaret Perkins-Mayville; brothers, Mike and Rik; and sister, Darcy Dinenny.
A casual gathering to honor Steve will be held Sunday, June 9, from 3-5 p.m. at the Hope and Glory Inn in Irvington.
Memorial contributions in Steve’s name may be made to the Northern Neck Free Health Clinic, National Public Radio and the National Democratic Party.