Janice Hayford Perkins was the sixth child out of seven born to Gertrude and Elbert D. Hayford. All siblings proudly boasted that even though their mother was only 5 feet, 2 inches tall, they each weighed over 10 pounds at birth. Janice is the last of the siblings to make her transition to the next realm, where she is probably entertaining everyone with her wonderful piano playing and singing. Janice never needed songbooks, although she could read them fluently, and gladly took requests “from the floor.” She will always be fondly remembered for her love of laughter, her joy of learning, her good taste in clothes and decorating and her youthful looks ─ even though she almost made it to the centenarian age-level!
As the mother of two daughters, Laura Lee Perkins (Stockton Springs and Surprise, Ariz.) and Kathleen Ann Perkins (Edgecomb), Janice proudly taught them to read and write long before they started school. Laura and Kathleen affectionately remember sitting on the piano bench with their mother as she sang and played her baby grand piano for the family on Sunday afternoons. They also have warm memories of Mom sewing most of their clothes, always helping with homework, cooking wonderful meals, teaching them to sew and garden, and playing badminton, Scrabble, Fish, and Monopoly. After 15 years of marriage, Janice, and husband Edward Lee Perkins (deceased) bought a camp on Echo Lake in Mt. Vernon. The camp was named Camelot and the family spent many wonderful summers there. Eventually two granddaughters, Jen, and Emily, joined in boating, swimming, fishing, and family reunions.
Janice worked as a nurse’s aide during WWII and later as a telephone operator, where she answered calls with her humorous “Bumble bees” instead of “Number, please.” (She said no one ever noticed.) Janice also worked as manager/buyer for two department store fabric departments and for Arizona Fish & Wildlife in the boat registration department during winters. Janice and Edward were avid square-dancers, devoted parents and they enjoyed many years together.
Janice’s best lifelong friends were her four sisters (Eleanor, Margaret, Olive, and Nancy) and two brothers (Elbert II and Donald), all of whom thrived on loving and supporting each other. A graduate of Gardiner High School’s class of 1944, Janice was a lifelong learner and particularly enjoyed taking classes for over 40 years at Glendale Community College (Arizona) and the University of Maine in Augusta.
Janice is survived by two daughters, Laura Lee Perkins and Kathleen Ann Perkins; granddaughters, Emily Marie Douglas, and Jennifer Lee Douglas and partner, Sibyl Salisbury; and two great-grandsons, James Spencer Douglas and Elmer Douglas.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24 at Staples Funeral Home in Gardiner followed by burial at the Oak Grove Cemetery.
In lieu of cut flowers, small perennial plants would be welcome for planting at the Gardiner Oak Grove Cemetery; or donations may be made in her memory to the Echo Lake Association, P.O. Box 322, Kents Hill, ME 04349.
Thank you to Edgecomb Greens Assisted Living Facility, where Janice was lovingly cared for over eight years and to St. Andrews Village in Boothbay Harbor where the SAFE HAVENS staff was truly outstanding for her final two-and-a-half years. Thank you also, to Beacon Hospice for their outstanding care during her final days.
Arrangements are entrusted with Staples Funeral Home and Cremation Care, 53 Brunswick Ave., Gardiner. Condolences, memories, and photos may be shared with the family on the obituary page of the Staples Funeral Home website, staplesfuneralhome.com.