Cheryl Perkins never left Tacoma’s North End.
It’s where she was born and raised, where she met her husband, where she raised her children.
“She loved Tacoma,” said her daughter, Kim VanEpps, 46, of Bellingham. “She saw it grow and she loved to be part of the new areas that blossomed with young people.”
The 68-year-old Perkins was killed Sept. 16 when she was crossing Sixth Avenue for a pre-party for the 50th reunion of Wilson High School’s Class of 1966. She was hit by a car whose driver did not see her.
Perkins lived in the same home with her husband, Dan, a 1964 Wilson alumnus, for more than 40 years, VanEpps said.
The couple — she was Cheryl Munro back then — met on a blind date their friends set up.
“He was just talking about this today,” VanEpps said Thursday night. “Dad showed up in his checkered crazy pants and said, ‘Hi, I’m Dan Perkins.’ ”
“And about the first thing she said was, ‘I have kids.’
“He said, ‘That’s great, I love kids.’ ”
They were married Dec. 18, 1970.
VanEpps described her mother as a “domestic engineer,” a stay-at-home mom who was a fantastic cook and loved to take care of others.
“She’s vibrant, she’s funny and loud and loving and she loves Christ,” her daughter said. “More than anything, she loves to share Christ with people.”
VanEpps was fond of the trips the family took together, camping at Lake Chelan starting in her childhood and going on numerous cruises as adults.
“We enjoy the sun and eating good food,” she said.
Perkins was a member of Tacoma’s Life Center church, where her funeral will be at 10 a.m Saturday (Sept. 24.)
“My mom’s faith was everything, that was her foundation,” VanEpps said. “She was unwavering in her faith. It is strong — so strong.”
Diane Stewart, Perkins’ best friend, knew her since fifth grade.
“She just loved her family and friends before herself,” Stewart said. “She always put them in front of her.”
In addition to her husband and daughter, Perkins’ family included her son, Dennis, of Kent; her father, Andy, of Puyallup; her sister Sandi and brother Andy, both of Tacoma; and her grandchildren, Isaac VanEpps, 16, and Eben VanEpps, 13.
Cheryl Perkins and Stewart were part of a group that met up a couple of times a year at C.I. Shenanigans along Ruston Way for lunch. Another member of the group died earlier in the year. They had planned to leave a seat open for her, but now there will be two empty chairs.
“She’s just going to be terribly missed in this community,” Stewart said.
She and Perkins were together Sept. 15 at the reunion where Cheryl “was talking to half the people even though she didn’t know them,” Stewart said.
Stewart did not see Perkins get hit by the car that killed her, but said she had to be the one to call Dan Perkins and tell him Cheryl had been seriously injured and taken to St. Joseph Medical Center.
The reunion went on, and Stewart said it was an upbeat time to remember Perkins.
“Everyone was pretty thankful that they knew her and got to talk with her,” Stewart said.