Alan Perkins

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 25, 2010

NATCHEZ — Services for Alan North Perkins, 58, of New York, and a 45 year veteran of broadcasting and broadcast engineering, who died Sunday, Aug. 22, 2010, at his family home in Natchez, will be at 11 a.m. today at St. Mary Basilica.

Burial will follow at Natchez City Cemetery under the direction of Laird Funeral Home.

Visitation will be from 9:30 a.m. until service time today at the church.

Alan was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this summer and enjoyed the company of family and a number of friends through the end of a remarkable life.

Born Aug. 19, 1952, Alan’s lifelong interest in media, politics and public discourse began at an early age. Blessed with insatiable curiosity, Alan became an avid reader and talker. He was interested in the life of Natchez in all of its dimensions and was not shy about engaging anyone with a question or observation.

Interested in local politics, Alan was taken as a guest of his uncle, Joe Zuccaro, to the Jan. 21, 1964, Mississippi gubernatorial inauguration. At the age of 11, Alan was seated between current and former governors from neighboring states on the dais of newly-sworn Governor Paul B. Johnson Jr., as he received well-wishers. The Clarion-Ledger reported that Alan was fielding requests from autograph seekers and acting as a courier between Governor Johnson and his new public.

At about this same time, Alan took a very active interest in WNAT, the family radio business. With the help of the station’s broadcast engineer, he learned a great deal about electronics and broadcasting. Eventually, Alan found his way behind the microphone and developed a national reputation as a disk jockey and broadcast engineer and became a national creative force during an explosive period in the rock radio revolution.

Alan worked in many leading radio markets including New York City, Miami, Honolulu, New Haven, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Jackson, and of course, Natchez. Alan’s professional services also included broadcast engineering where he most recently served as an operating engineer for the maintenance of broadcast equipment at the Empire State Building in New York.

Many will long remember Alan’s remarkable sense of humor and ability to amuse. Irreverent and at times, impolitic, Alan was not shy about expressing his views on issues of the day and converted that talent over the last decade to print media that focused on the political shenanigans and foibles of leaders of the left and the right. His incisive wit and ability to graphically encapsulate a political figure’s hypocrisy was Alan’s favorite medium and he was prolific.

As a young man, Alan attended Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon, Tennessee and St. Paul’s School in Covington, La. A graduate of Cathedral High School, Alan attended the University of Mississippi and graduated from Tulane University. He attended St. Mary Basilica.

Alan was preceded in death by his father, William Samuel Perkins and one brother, David Ratcliffe Perkins.

Survivors include his partner, Eric Barbato; his mother, Marie Zuccaro Perkins; one sister, Margaret Cecilia Perkins and her partner, Rene’ Adams of Natchez; one brother, William Stephen Perkins and his wife, Martha, of Washington D.C.; one niece, Scott Jeffrey of Washington; two nephews, David Jeffrey of Washington and Robert Jeffrey of New York.

Pallbearers will be Wayne Bryant, Joe Carpenter, Mark Coffey, Andre de La Barre, Ed Godfrey, Dave Kimbro, Johnny Junkin and Philip Zuccaro.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the St. Mary Basilica Life Center or the Natchez Cemetery Association.

Online condolences may be sent to www.lairdfh.com.