A funeral mass took place Feb. 13 at Christ the King Catholic Church, Jersey City, for former state Assemblyman William O. Perkins, Jr. After a long illness he passed away peacefully on Feb. 5 in Teaneck, surrounded by his family and his aide.
He was born in Jersey City, the son of the late Eva Trotman Perkins and William Osborne Perkins, Sr. Several years after the death of his mother Eva, when Billy was a young boy, his father married Roslyn Ellis. She loved young “Billy” and he remained a devoted stepson until her death in 2005.
As a young boy Billy excelled in sports. He ran track and played football. He graduated from Henry Snyder High School in Jersey City in 1959. Billy was recruited by the University of Iowa (Hawkeyes), and awarded a scholarship to play college football. He was drafted by The Dallas Cowboys while he was an undergraduate at Iowa. Due to an injury, he left Texas and was picked up by the New York Jets where he played for one season.
Billy re-enrolled in Iowa and completed his undergraduate degree and enrolled in Seton Hall Law School in 1965. While attending Seton Hall Law School and working part time, he played on weekends for The Westchester Bulls, the Giants farm team. In 1968 Billy received his J.D. degree from Seton Hall University. William O. Perkins, Esq. opened his law office in 1970 in The Trust Company Bank building in Jersey City. He maintained his law practice there until 2000. After leaving his practice Billy went to work for the Jersey City Board of Recreation until 2010. Billy served as state Assemblyman, 31st District, from 1973 – 1976 and as chairman of the Assembly’s Judiciary Committee in 1975. He was selected as a delegate to the American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) while he was an assemblyman and traveled throughout the former Soviet Union with other elected officials.
Billy loved his native Jersey City and believed in serving the community. He was beloved by many and touched numerous lives through his community involvement. Billy served as Adjunct Professor of Constitutional Law at St. Peter’s College; served on the Boards of Jersey City State College (now New Jersey City State University), NAACP, Hudson County Legal Services, St. Aloysius Academy, Hudson Repertory Dance Theater and the Hudson County Bar Association. He was Assistant Football Coach of St. Peter’s College, the Jersey Jets, P.A.L.; a sponsor of Little Leagues and Babe Ruth League baseball teams.
Billy leaves to cherish his memory his daughters Joyce Person-Perkins of Bayonne, and Tia Sinclair Bell (Ronald) of Monmouth County; his sons William O. Perkins, III of U.S. Virgin Islands and Grantlin Morgan Perkins of Canberra, Australia; his grandchildren Asia Metsagharun (Toritseju) of London, U.K.; James S. Robinson of Bayonne; Khalis Bell, Sephton Zyrell Person-Perkins, Erin Skye Perkins and Brisa Maxine Perkins. He is also survived by his sisters Sandra “Dimples” Clark, Maxine West, and Doris Haggenmiller; and his uncle Augustus “Gus” M. Perkins. Billy was predeceased by his brother Fredrick Perkins and his sister Jacqueline Franklin and a stepbrother Albert Ellis. He also leaves to mourn his loss a host of cousins, nieces, nephews and many loving long-time friends. Services arranged by the McLaughlin Funeral Home, Jersey City.

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