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Burial Date: April 25, 2016
The Funeral Liturgy will be celebrated on Monday, April 25th at 11:00 am at St. Francis de Sales Church. The Most Very Rev. Fr. Paul Wharton will be the celebrant. The Rite of Committal will follow in the The Garden of the Crucifix at the Blue Ridge Memorial Gardens in Prosperity. The family will receive friends from 6 to 8:00 pm on Sunday evening at the Melton Mortuary.
Harry Walter Perkowski Sr.
On Wednesday, April 20th, 2016, Harry Perkowski passed on to his eternal home. He was in his 93rd year.
Born on September 6th, 1922 in Dante, Virginia to Polish immigrants, Ben and Feliska Perkowski. Although born in Virginia, he always considered Eccles, West Virginia as home. His father – a miner-moved the family to Eccles early in his childhood life.
Harry had a long and storied life. He was a 1942 graduate of Trap Hill High School, World War II Navy Veteran- serving in both the European and Pacific Theaters, and professional baseball player for the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs (1947 – 1955).
Harry’s military time was interesting from the start. He was actually drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943 but always one to challenge the status quo, he decided that he would prefer the U.S. Navy. He had to have his father (who was in the hospital at the time) and had to have his father sign the papers so he could enlist 1943. He thought it was humorous that he could be drafted but had to get parental permission to enlist. He joined the amphibious force during World War II, helping escort troops and tanks into hot spots on Landing Craft Tanks. He served 19 months in the Atlantic and 11 months in the Pacific, including four invasions during the war in Africa, Sicily, Italy, and Normandy.
Following his discharge from military service in 1946, Perkowski signed with the Cincinnati Reds and enjoyed an outstanding year in the Pioneer League for the Ogden Reds. In 1947, Perkowski gained a promotion to the Columbia team of the South Atlantic League, where he finished 17–12 with 133 strikeouts and a 3.57 ERA in 247 innings before joining the Reds in late September. He posted a 3.68 ERA in three games (one start) before the season ended, but Cincinnati felt he was not quite ready for the major leagues at this point.
Perkowski spent 1948 with the Tulsa Oilers of the Texas League, hurling his second 20-victory season in the minors. 1948 was also the year that he married, Kathryn Lucille Bell. They had planned to get married on the field but because of several rain delays the game(s) were postponed. The team was getting ready to start a road game series so they just got married by a Justice of the Peace before he left town.
After that, Perkowski joined the Reds again in 1950 and remained with the team for the next five years. His most productive season came in 1952, when he went 12–10 with career-highs in innings pitched (194), strikeouts (86) and ERA (3.80). He finished 12–11 with a 4.52 ERA in 1953. On July 19 of that year, he pitched a 12-inning, three-hit, 1–0 shutout against the New York Giants at Crosley Field.
At the end of 1954, Cincinnati traded to the Chicago Cubs. He made 25 appearances for the Cubs in 1955, then returned to the minors in 1956 where he continued pitching until 1960, spending time with Los Angeles, Tulsa, Memphis, Fort Worth and Denver clubs.
In an eight-season majors career, Perkowski posted a 33–40 record with a 4.37 ERA in 184 appearances, including 76 starts, 24 complete games, four shutouts, five saves, and 698⅔ innings of work. Arm troubles and age ended his career.
Though best known as a baseball pitcher, he also served as an ambulance driver, constable, Mabscott Chief of Police, Raleigh County Sheriff’s Deputy, Raleigh County school bus driver, and finally retired from the WV Department of Highways.
He enjoyed spending time in the company and friendship of his dear companion Nevada “Poopsie” Angle and her entire family.
He also enjoyed bowling, dancing, spending time with family, reminiscing with friends, sitting on the front porch with his Greystone friends and playing cards. He maintained an active lifestyle working out at the cardiac rehab center and the Commission on Aging until poor vision hampered his travels.
He was a long- time parishioner of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Beckley and Lifetime Member (50 yr.) of the Loyal Order of the Moose, Beckley Lodge.
Harry is survived by son, Harry Jr. (Alyce) of Beckley and daughter, Jane Kalbach (Ed) of Shickshinny, PA.; five grandchildren Leah Perkowski-Sisk (Jon), Katy Perkowski (Sam), Adam Pell, Alex Pell and Kathryn Kalbach; great granddaughter, Scarlett Phillips and Jon’s Sisk’s children, Josh and Caleb.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Kathryn Perkowski; brothers John, Joe, Charlie, and Alex.
The family wishes to express their gratitude to; Harry’s devoted friend, Norman Davis, the marvelous staff and friends of his Greystone family and his Moose Club buddies.
Harry led a full life with few regrets. He will be sadly missed and fondly remembered by many.
The Funeral Liturgy will be celebrated on Monday, April 25th at 11:00 am at St. Francis de Sales Church. The Very Rev. Fr. Paul Wharton will be the celebrant. The Rite of Committal will follow in the The Garden of the Crucifix at the Blue Ridge Memorial Gardens in Prosperity. The family will receive friends from 6 to 8:00 pm on Sunday evening at the Melton Mortuary. A Scriptural Prayer Service will be led by Rev. Mr. William Donald Wise at 7:30 pm.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.meltonmortuary.com