Donald Wyndom Perkins

May 29, 1931January 11, 2021

Donald Wyndom Perkins, 89, passed away on January 11th in Fairfax, VA. Don was born in 1931 in Bryn Mawr, PA to Harold A. Perkins and Florence Mae Wickwire. He attended Edgewood High School in Pittsburgh, PA. He then attended Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH graduating in 1953 with a Master of Science from the Thayer School of Engineering and Tuck School of Business Administration. Following graduation, he served two years active duty in the Army. He resided in the Washington area for over 50 years in Severna Park, Arlington, Alexandria, and the Greenspring Village Retirement Community in Springfield, VA.

His engineering career began with his work at Westinghouse Oceanic Division in Pittsburgh, PA and then Annapolis, MD where he was involved in various undersea warfare programs until 1978. Don continued his career at the National Academy of Sciences where he served as the Associate Director of the National Academy of Sciences Marine Board. Don engaged in the development, management and production of committee work regarding maritime studies. He conducted studies relating to oil spill dispersants, development of tanker hulls, beach erosion, and ship collisions with bridges. He was a leader in the development of hull requirements after the Exxon Valdez spill in 1987 until he retired in 1996.

Don continued to be active in various activities and hobbies after retirement. He served as Treasurer for the Washington Map Society from 1999-2009, an organization supporting map collecting, and the history, science and art of cartography. He was a member of The Society for the History of Discoveries, serving as treasurer from 2008-2014.

Don participated in Dartmouth Alumni activities and enjoyed spending summers in New Hampshire. He had a passion for travel, hiking and biking extensively in Italy, France and England. He visited New Zealand, Alaska, Turkey, Iceland, Spain and Cuba among other destinations. As a member of the National Presbyterian church, he served as a volunteer to teach English in Thailand through a Presbyterian Mission. He maintained an interest in the outdoors, enjoying scuba diving and camping. Don was active in many clubs and groups at Greenspring including Great Decisions, a foreign affairs speaker program.

Don was preceded in death by his first wife, Mary Elizabeth Sullivan Perkins in 1982 and his son, Colin W. Perkins in 2016. He married Alice Rechlin Perkins in 1997 and she passed away in 2002. Don is survived by daughter in law, Elaine Perkins; Alice’s children Linda Rechlin, Thomas Rechlin and Paul Rechlin; extended family, longtime companion Mindy Thomas and close friends. A private interment will be held at National Memorial Park in Falls Church, VA.

Another Leaf Has Fallen Another leaf has fallen, another soul has gone. But still we have God’s promises, in every robin’s song. For he is in His heaven, and though He takes away, He always leaves to mortals, the bright sun’s kindly ray. He leaves the fragrant blossoms, and lovely forest, green. And gives us new found comfort, when we on Him will lean. Unknown


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Donald Wyndom Perkins

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