HERCULES -- Former mayor Russ Perkins died Nov. 2 in Oregon, where he and his wife had been living since his retirement in 1997.

Perkins, who was 72, recently had been diagnosed with leukemia. He had endured a previous bout with cancer but had been free of the disease for 1½ years, according to Patricia "Pat" Perkins, whom he married in 1969.

Russ Perkins served on the Hercules City Council from 1982 to 1992, including two one-year turns as mayor. He originally was appointed to fill a vacancy and was elected in 1984 and re-elected in 1988; he did not run again in 1992, his wife said.

Perkins attended Menlo College and received an MBA from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. He began his professional life as a stockbroker. He was in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and had recently received his stockbroker's license, his wife said, when he was called to active duty in connection with the January 1968 incident of the USS Pueblo, a Navy intelligence ship seized by North Korea under disputed circumstances and released 11 months later.

Perkins later worked for the federal Environmental Protection Agency as a systems analyst, retiring in 1996. The couple moved to Lake Oswego, Ore., the following year.


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Perkins was an avid Sherlockian, his wife said. He was a member of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London and several Holmes scion societies: the Mini-Tongas and the Scowrers and Molly Maguires in San Francisco; and the Blue Carbuncle in Portland.

In Oregon, Perkins was a member of Rotary International.

In his retirement, Perkins liked to go on long road trips with his wife to national parks and presidential libraries. He toured Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota but never got around to hiking to Delicate Arch in Utah, which had been on his bucket list, Pat Perkins said.

Russ Perkins' survivors include his wife of 43 years; son, Christopher; cousins Sharon Mahr of Sacramento and Lee Stoeckle Jr. of Ventura.

In honor of his grandfather, Leo Stoeckle, who had been owner and president of the Sacramento Casket Company, Russ Perkins chose to be buried in a pecan wood casket, his wife said. A private graveside service was held at Willamette National Cemetery in Oregon on Tuesday.

The family asks that donations be made in Russ Perkins' memory to the Portland Japanese Garden or the Hercules Community Library Foundation.

Contact Tom Lochner at 510-262-2760. Follow him at twitter.com/tomlochner