Age 88, of Long Lake, MN, passed away on Saturday, April 6, 2019.
Perk was born in Westby, WI in 1930. The son of the town barber, Perk spent many summers at his Aunt Hilma and Uncle Harry’s dairy farm in Bloomingdale, WI. After high school he attended Moler Barber School in Minneapolis; then with a young and growing family he worked his way through college as a barber cutting hair. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison with a BA in Finance in 1955 and an MBA degree in 1957. While working at a bank trust department in Chicago, he was offered the perfect opportunity for a small-town boy from Wisconsin with a strong interest in investments - employment and experience as the Assistant Endowment Fund Manager at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN in 1958. This is where he gained his initial investment skills, doing fundamental research by day and technical chart analysis at the kitchen table by night. He was an early applicant into the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) Society, earning charter #1256 in September of 1966; today there are over 150,000 CFAs worldwide. In 1965 he packed up his family and left for a short stint as the Pension Fund Manager at Standard Oil of Ohio. In 1966 he moved his family to Orono where at Piper, Jaffray and Hopwood in Minneapolis he followed Minnesota companies and wrote a research piece entitled The Upper Midwest Review. With a partner who followed local food and agriculture companies he went on to help start Piper’s research department and then Piper’s institutional sales department. They followed mainly upper Midwest companies and he sold his ideas to institutional investors around the country and in the UK, Europe and Hong Kong. In 1985, tired of traveling, he started Perkins Capital Management with his two sons, Dick and Dan. PCM grew into one of the most well-respected small-cap investors in the country. Perk has been honored by Twin Cities Business Magazine as a director of the year and one of few Twin Cities business leaders to be given a lifetime achievement award. He served on over 20 boards, mainly small-cap companies, several of which became successful NASDAQ companies. He was instrumental in the formation of several private companies, including a bank holding company, and he gave back to his community by offering guidance and fundraising for non-profits. He also restored and donated his Aunt Hilma’s farmhouse to the Norskedalen Nature and Heritage Center in Coon Valley, WI. He never planned to retire. He always said, “This is what I do. I don’t golf.” But he did catch a lot of walleyes and shoot a lot of ducks with his family and friends. Perk loved collecting antique duck decoys, hunting for morel mushrooms, and attending Jerry Jeff Walker’s annual Camp Belize. He also enjoyed an annual pheasant trip which began as business but resulted in a 40-year friendship; this was Perk’s way, business which often turned into friendships. He was fortunate to be sharp, active and engaged until he was called.
Survived by life partner, Dana Rocheford, sister Mary Ann Perkins, sons Dick (Wynne) and Dan (Patrice) and daughter Pamela Brown. Stepdaughter Bridget Rocheford-Kearney (Ron) and stepson Tony Rocheford (Charlene Hall). Grandchildren: Sara Perkins (Zahir Zavari), Chris Blumberg (Kelly), Alli Folger (Kevin), Jenna Perkins (Peter Zimmerman), Liz Dawson (Jack), Richie Perkins (Mariko Blakely), Charlie Perkins, Aaron Brown (Kjerste Gast), Lizzie and Sam Rocheford. Great-grandchildren: Ryan, Tyler, Christian, Gracie, Kiran, Sai, Olivia, his employees and many good friends. Preceded in death by parents Clifford and Harriet Perkins, Marilyn Perkins (mother of his children), Auntie Hilma and Uncle Harry Wold.
Visitation is 5:00pm – 7:00pm Thursday April 11, at David Lee Funeral Home, Wayzata. A second visitation will be held at Vosseteig Funeral Home, Westby, WI, on Friday April 12, 1:00pm – 2:00pm. Private service and interment. A celebration of Perk’s life will be announced at a future date.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to PACER Center, YMCA Camp Olson, Longville, MN, or Norskedalen Nature and Heritage Center.
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