Thelma (Wills) Perkins was born in Langley, SC. She was the third of six children born to the late Arthur Wills Sr. and Jessie Dunbar Wills. During her childhood, Thelma faithfully attended the family church, St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church in Langley, SC with her parents and siblings. Thelma was educated in the Langley school system where she took a liking to home economics. After the family moved from Langley, affectionately known as “the Valley,” to nearby Aiken, SC, Thelma continued to frequent the family church where she accepted Christ and was baptized. When she was 19 years old and after having completed her schooling, Thelma left her hometown and migrated north to Rhode Island where she would live a long, fruitful, and faithful life.
Soon after settling in Providence, RI, Thelma met the late Richard Perkins. The two were married in 1947 and to this union one child, the late Robert Perkins, was born. Up until his passing, Thelma prided herself on being a loving and supportive mother to her beloved “Bobby.”
Thelma also did not waste any time making Rhode Island her home as she joined the Congdon Street Baptist Church in Providence, RI where she served as an usher, was member of the gospel choir and dutifully served as a member of other auxiliaries. Thelma also established herself as a dependable and valued professional working for the Bulova watch company before enjoying a long career with A.T. Cross, retiring in 1995 after over 30 years of service. Thelma was a follower of politics and other important current events. She was also an avid bowler and a fan of all New England sports teams, especially “her” Boston Celtics.
Although she only had one biological child, Thelma was a mother-figure to many. No words better capture Thelma’s essence and impact on the people she loved than the words of Mrs. Lisa Phillips, mother of Thelma’s beloved grandson “Robby”:
There’s a saying that goes “Nothing is so strong as gentleness, and nothing is so gentle as real strength.” That saying could have been written especially for Thelma. She was a force to be reckoned with ... strong in her convictions and opinions and not afraid to tell you so. She was a proud and fiercely independent woman. She was a lady. She was the only person besides my parents, that I ever trusted enough to care for my children. I am proud to call her my friend. I will miss our conversations and I will miss her immensely. May St. Peter and all the saints open wide the gates of heaven as the angels welcome Thelma with great trumpet and open hands!”
Thelma was called home by her lord and transitioned from this earthly life on Sunday, April 2, 2022. She was preceded in death by her parents; two sisters, Catherine and Evelyn Wills; and three brothers Woodrow, Arthur and Albert Wills. She leaves to morn and cherish her memory two grandsons, Robert and Torrian Thorpe and his mother Lisa Phillips; one niece, Ruth Wills Coleman of Elmont, NY; one nephew Rishaad Wills (Tonia) of St Albans, NY; a special devoted nephew, Willie A. Kinder of Dallas, TX; a devoted sister in-law, Rev. Mamie Bryant of Jamaica, NY; three great-nephews; six great nieces; four great-great grandchildren; eight cousins; and a numerous devoted members of her beloved Congdon Street Baptist Church family, a number of whom who were at her bedside when her precious soul departed from her earthly body.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Thelma Perkins, please visit our floral store.