Joie d’vivre. The sunshine of a smile, a hearty laugh, a warm hello. Everybody’s buddy, everybody’s pal, a friend for a lifetime. He wanted everyone to like him, and mostly everyone did. Sometimes a little bigger than life, sometimes not.
Lawrence Leslie Perkins Jr. was born on May 13, 1973 in Valparaiso, Indiana to Katherine Ann and Lawrence Leslie Perkins. He was born with a big personality and the challenge of living with Prader-Willi Syndrome. He died on January 3, 2015, after providing the gift of life to others through donation of his organs.
Larry first came to Laura Baker Services Association on May 25, 1987 at 15. He attended Laura Baker School, living on Margaret Graves I with a host of friends. When his mom and step-dad decided to move out-of-state in September 1991, Larry moved with them, and spent time in a few different states before returning to Laura Baker in June 1992, where he completed his education, matriculating from Laura Baker School in 1994. Larry was delighted to be able to move into his new house late last year.
Larry worked through Epic Enterprises at a variety of jobs. He especially enjoyed his work at Dokmo. In recent years, Larry volunteered for Meals on Wheels and did light assembly work.
He was Catholic, and enjoyed attending a variety of churches. He was a Special Olympic athlete, winning medals in a variety of sports. He sang in the Laura Baker Choir. Two years ago, he was one of the featured dancers at the Laura Baker Dinner Theater, where he partnered with a St. Olaf dancer to show off his ballroom dancing skills.
Larry was a collector of many things. He especially enjoyed writing and drawing. He was profiled in pictures in a photo exhibit created by St. Olaf students.
Larry told his story for the 2013 Annual Report. Here’s what he had to say:
I work to make money. I go out with my mom a lot. I’m proud of buying stuff for my mom. I put stickers on things.
I like people to draw me pictures, and I draw for them sometimes. I like using the whole sheet of paper.
I have tons of music CDs. I play them on my stereo here in my room. My favorite is kid songs.
I like College Buddies. When it’s warm, we walk around the neighborhood.
I like to be at my mom’s place. I like to spend the night. One night for my birthday, and two nights for Christmas.
Once in a great while something makes me sad. I don’t see my girlfriend no more and she never calls me. We met at the Valentine’s dance at the Faribault Ballroom. She’s been my girlfriend for quite a few years. Now she never calls me.
If I had three wishes? I would wish for a thousand dollars. Then I’d buy ten CDs and maybe a new DVD movie. With what’s left over, I’d buy 200 notebooks. And I would draw in them all.
Larry is survived by his mom, Kathy Perkins and by his housemates, staff and friends at Laura Baker Services Association and Epic Enterprises. He was preceded in death by his father, Lawrence Perkins, and his stepfather, Jim Nehmzow.
We envision Larry dancing with the many friends and family members he is reunited with. “Hi, how are YOU? Hello old buddy, old pal!!! How you been? What’s new?”