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Gander Brook Christian Camp mourns Cecil D. Perkins, beloved friend

Cecil D. Perkins at Gander Brook Christian Camp in Raymond, Maine. (Photo via memorial page on Facebook)

The Gander Brook Christian Camp family is mourning the death of Cecil D. Perkins, a beloved figure to generations at the Maine camp.
Camp director Shawn Daggett shared the news:

Cecil D. Perkins, camp counselor, waterfront director, bus driver and beloved friend to Gander Brook Christian Camp died sometime during the weekend of January 7-8. He was 58 years old.
Cecil began volunteering for this residential camp serving northern New England in 1973, and returned every summer, with only a couple of exceptions since. Over the last 38 years there have only been two or three years that Cecil wasn’t able to attend and offer his services to the young people of the Northeast.
During the school year Cecil taught Junior High science in the Memphis City schools, but his summers were spent blessing the camp. Cecil’s presence, personality, example, and generosity have been so influential to Gander Brook, that it is impossible to speak of one without thinking of the other.
A memorial service will be held at the White Station Church of Christ in Memphis, at 2:00 p.m., Saturday January 14, 2012.
Memorial donations to Gander Brook Christian Camp may be made by sending them to:
Gander Brook Christian Camp
217 Hovey Road
Houlton, ME 04730

Read The Christian Chronicle’s 2008 feature on the crucial role that Gander Brook plays among New England churches.

  • Feedback
    Cecil had a great impact on my life. As a young Gander Brook camper, he at first appeared as gruff, towering and impossibly strict. This was largely a facade, Cecil on numerous occasions exhibited bountiful kindness and compassion. In a lot of ways, and to countless people, he was “Jesus with skin on.” As I moved through adulthood, our friendship became closer. Our love for the outdoors, Maine, canoes and old camp friends caused our paths to cross repeatedly. He is a man adored and beloved by many. He is irreplaceable, his friendship unforgettable. He will forever live in our hearts and memories.
    Rich O’Connell
    January, 13 2012

    Thank you for sharing this. Cecil touched so many lives with his gentle spirit and good humor. Gander Brook is going to miss him. It may be hard for those outside New Englad to understand what Gander Brook and Cecil’s role have meant over the years, but this is a big loss. We are thankful to the Lord for the years that we had Cecil, and I am looking forward to a reunion one day!
    Bill Jenczyk
    January, 13 2012

    It is impossible to list the countless ways God used this special brother to love, encourage and serve His kingdom in New England. Just when you think you’ve remembered all the significant moments, someone else mentions one that opens another floodgate of memories. I am thankful for the opportunity to have known Cecil, laughed with him, worked with Him, played with him, served with him. He was an integral part of the ministry to the youth of New England and will be missed dearly.
    Terri Apgar
    January, 13 2012

    There are not enough words to give appropriate honor to this quiet, gentle, loving servant. Cecil’s touch has made this world a better place. His life was an example of how simply caring for another can make a difference. Thank you, Cecil for blessing so many.
    Louise Morrish
    January, 13 2012

    When I posted the news about Cecil’s passing from this life to the next someone left me this note that I think is so fitting. “Do not weep that he is gone. Rejoice that he was here.” And rejoice we shall..Cecil was such a good example of how to live the way you say you believe. He has touched many,many lives in a very positive way.
    Dawn Lowe
    January, 13 2012

    Cecil was a man whose example and very life touched so many people. He was a humble, quiet and gentle man who had a passion for youth. He had an unyielding love for youth as well as Gander Brook Christian Camp. He was a compassionate and humble man who was an inspiration to many. Cecil was a servant and I was blessed to serve alongside him.
    Rest in Peace my friend. Keep searching for books, driving the backroads and bringing that bus through the gates!
    Shelly Kellis
    January, 13 2012

    I remember Cecil as a counselor when I attended Ganderbrook in the seventies. He was quiet, humble, and taught Jesus through his actions as well as his kind words. Many of us in the Northeast, especially Maine, are thankful for the great ministry of his life through his work at Ganderbrook. I didn’t get a chance to speak with him in the last years, but am thankful and look forward to some great conversations in heaven. God bless.
    Mark Rollins
    January, 13 2012

    I am very sorry indeed for the death of such a wonderful and committed brother. God be with the family left behind. may his soul rest with the Lord (2 Cor 5:8).
    Moster Nyirenda
    January, 14 2012

    Cecil loved people, loved coaching others, and was good at it. Cecil taught me to swim. We were counselors at Ganderbrook together in ’79 and ’80 (when Lloyd was director). Counselors who could swim, would swim to an island a few hundred yards offshore and take a break. Those who didn’t swim (like me) stayed and played sharks and minnows with the kids. One day, as I was growing weary of sharks & minnows & 8 year olds, Cecil (a strong swimmer) told me he’d swim beside me & promised to help if I had any trouble. When I got tired & wanted to head back, he said “Don’t give up now, we are almost there!” (A bit of an exaggeration :-). Over the next several minutes he coaxed and coached me stroke by stroke until I finally made it to that island … which taught me I could actually do this! Every day for the rest of the summer Cecil and I swam back and forth together for the whole hour.
    Wish I could have been there on the 14th. I’ll look forward to swimming again with you in that great lake in heaven, my friend!!
    Ken Smith
    January, 19 2012

    Cecil Perkins and I were members of the Alpha Tau fraternity at Lipscomb University, and shared an apartment as we attended the Harding University Graduate School of Religion in Memphis.
    Long after grad school days, Cecil would visit my house in Atlanta at least once every year – just before his trip to summer camp (Gander Brook Christian Camp) in Maine. A natural with kids, my girls looked forward with great anticipation to his visits through the years. Cecil told them exciting stories and taught them camp songs (their favorite was about a dead lobster), and after a few hours of that the kids got pretty animated and “wild.”
    Then Cecil would laugh as he began to pull out of my driveway. I was left holding two wiggling kids who obviously wouldn’t be going to sleep anytime soon! He would say to me, “You deserve it.” or “Root to you!” (Inside AT jokes).
    I was shocked to learn that Cecil died suddenly, and was buried January 13, 2012. I want you to know Cecil Perkins was a good man, and a true brother. I am deeply saddened at his passing from this life. Though I believe I will see him again in a much better time and place, I grieve as I will no longer be able to laugh with him here. Goodbye dear friend. I’ll see you in a little while.
    Gary Landerfelt
    January, 20 2012

    I have great memories of Cecil in our days together at Lipscomb University as members of the esteemed Alpha Tau social club. Cecil was our elder statesman who occupied the entire 8-1/2 floor of High Rise Dorm — the stairwell leading to the roof of the 8-story building. He was, in short, a classic.
    Paul Nance
    January, 20 2012

    First met Cecil as a camper at Gander Brook in 1973. He was a fixture at the camp much like the moose head which hangs above the fireplace in the main lodge!He will be missed bhy all who new him!
    Chuck Carson
    January, 21 2012

    I remember when Cecil first started going to Ganderbrook while a student at then David Lipscomb College. He did not graduate with the rest of us of his class year because he still had courses he wanted to take…he was on his own degree completion program! We were convinced he simply wanted to be a professional student. But he did finish and we met again at HUGSR and Bible (Harding School of Theology)in Memphis. I have precious memories of his teasing and laughter. No one can replace him at Ganderbrook…he is simply irreplaceable!
    Stevie Mick
    February, 4 2012

    David Lipscomb fellow student…what a blessing he was and still is to many of us!
    Donna Finto-Burks
    February, 9 2012

    I first met Cecil at Wolf-Chase Galleria Mall (Memphis Tn.)..He was reading at a table by himself..I asked if I could sit and eat at his table he looked up, grinned and said sure…This started a seven year friendship/tradition of meeting, eating and having candid conversation almost every Saturday night. We hit it off because we both loved science (which he taught), astronomy, meteorology, geology etc. I learned a lot about Cecil over the years…I learned he was a kind , gentle human being who loved and had a passion for nature and Christ…. I don’t know anyone at camp but I can tell you he lived for every summer to go back to Gander Brook Christian Camp…..He shared with me many stories and a lot about science…I last saw Cecil on 7 January Saturday evening as we had dinner together, there was nothing unusual , we had our usual hour and a half visit over food and conversation, when we parted and shook hands and I said as usual “See you next time and have a good week”….Little did I know it would be the last …I guess I probably was one of the last persons to see and talk to him… Needless to say I was shocked and grieved to learn of his passing…..Our loss is Christ’s gain……Till we meet again old friend…..go with God.
    Frederic E. Gilbert
    USN- Retired
    Fred Gilbert
    February, 12 2012

    I was a camper at GanderBrook from 1992-1996 and I loved every minute!! I remember Cecil well he was funny kind and had a way if cheering you up on a bad day. He will be sorely missed by all those campers who loved him.
    Rebecca Roberts-Crowell
    January, 20 2013

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