Skip to main content

Davis Journal

Remembering Don Perkins

Feb 11, 2021 12:21PM ● By Tom Haraldsen

BOUNTIFUL—It’s hard to believe it’s been more than 32 years since Don Perkins retired as principal at Bountiful High School in 1988. It culminated his 37-year career as a coach, educator and leader, and his utter dedication to the school and community of students and parents he loved. And yet, it seems at times like he’s never left. His impact remains strong on and around the high school campus, along with so many memories.

Don passed away on Feb. 3 after a short illness. He is remembered, along with his late wife Donna who passed in 2009, as icons in the Bountiful High community. They were staunch supporters of all things BHS – always at athletic games and concerts and school events. You constantly saw them together – a great team that raised four wonderful children and mentored thousands more.

“I was a member of our state championship football team in 1979,” their son Jim recalled. “Mom and Dad were at every game, every year, and my Dad was able to hand the state trophy to me as I stood with my teammates. No one is ever gifted and blessed enough to have an opportunity like that. And I remember Mom and Dad watching me play a football game up at Ricks College (now BYU Idaho) in freezing temperatures, just sitting in the stands to support us. They were both amazing.”

“When I got a basketball scholarship to Dixie College, it was largely because of how hard Dad made me work over and over again on strengthening my game,” Rawlee Perkins said. “He would make me shoot layup after layup, hundreds of them. If you were a Perkins, there were things you had to live up to. Once I broke my leg playing basketball when another player slid into me, but I heard Dad say ‘get up and play with the pain. Work your hardest.’ I recovered and never forgot that message.”

 “He was such a fabulous example to all of us,” his daughter Sue Baylis said. “He showed us how to do it right – how to live a meaningful life, to be tolerant, to respect everyone, and how to develop strong work ethics. I was fortunate to be able to follow in his footsteps as a teacher and then school administrator (at Bountiful High), taking care of kids and showing them ways to help them become successful. That was one of his greatest assets and gifts.”  

Don Perkins was born and raised in Kaysville, attended Layton Elementary and North Davis Jr. High, where he met Donna when they were both in eighth grade. They were together from that point forward, through Davis High and Don’s service in the Army during World War II. While he was on leave, they married on March 13, 1946 in the Salt Lake Temple.

He became a coach and a teacher when Bountiful High opened in 1951, coaching basketball and eventually becoming vice principal and principal. The school was recognized as one of the nation’s Ten Best under his leadership. In 1995, he was inducted into the Utah High School Activities Association Circle of Fame for his contributions to high school activities. It is the highest honor UHSAA bestows.

“My Dad was one of the most humble men I’ve ever known,” Sue said. “He never took credit for anything, and credited our mother for everything. And she returned the same to him. They were a great team, and they taught us such great parenting skills.”

“Now that I’m a grandfather, I appreciate how much time and devotion they gave to all of us,” Jim said. “You look back and realize how much you were loved.”

“Dad complimented us to others, but he didn’t say much to us in that way,” Rawlee said. “He wanted us to stay grounded and humble.”

“He was always there for us, through good times and bad,” Sue said. “We knew he was proud of us.”

Services for Don Perkins will be held tonight (Feb. 12) and tomorrow. His obituary can be found in this edition of the Davis Journal.