Obituary

John Robert Perkins
John Robert Perkins
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Founder and former owner of Gold Cross Ambulance Service, John Robert Perkins, 81, passed away September 15, 2022, at The Homestead in Rochester, Minnesota. John was devoted to his wife of 54 years, Patricia, and children Lara (Randy Hedegaard) of Woodbury, MN; son Ryan (Sarah Lisiecki), Las Cruces, NM; grandson Arin and granddaughter Leah, both of Woodbury, MN. John was born December 3, 1940, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and was preceded in death by his parents John Edward and Gertrude Mae Perkins.

John's love of music shaped his life. He started the JR Perkins Dance Band at age 17 and toured many resorts in Northern Wisconsin during summers. It then led him to the University of Minnesota, majoring in Music. He reached the level of Rank Lieutenant in the Marching Band and marched in 2 Rose Bowls and parades.

If you knew John, you couldn't help but remember his passion for service and see how it influenced his life. He became the youngest First Aid Instructor of the American Red Cross, teaching First Aid to the Minneapolis Fire Department and others. That lifelong desire to help others put him in the right place at the right time to start his own ambulance service when he was just 21 years old. Gold Cross Ambulance Service, in Rochester, Minnesota, became an official business on February 5, 1962. John always credited Tommy Thompson, Barb Steele, and Tom Scallen, for giving him and Gold Cross the boost they needed in the early days.

John became the 131st Nationally Registered Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) in the country and taught the first EMT course in Minnesota. During the 32 years John owned Gold Cross, his entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to the safety of the community led the way to pioneering many firsts in emergency medicine and ambulance advancements in the nation and the world. Some of these things we may take for granted today such as CPR, AEDs, IV's, and intubation in the field, and other state-of-the-art, lifesaving equipment on ambulances. John's great inspiration came from Roger White, MD of the Mayo Clinic and Roger served as the Medical Director at Gold Cross for many years.

By 1994, Gold Cross had grown to operations in four cities, providing Advanced Life Support care for 282,000 people, covering 3,110 square miles of primary service area, using 65 ambulances, wheelchair vans, and staff cars, and employing 105 highly skilled, compassionate people. John is appreciative for his wife Pat and business partners Harvey and Candy Hengel for their dedication and partnership in growing Gold Cross over the years. Gold Cross was sold to the Mayo Clinic so it could continue to be part of the communities it served. After Gold Cross, John served as the Homeland Security - Director of Emergency Preparedness for Olmstead County.

Over his respected career, John earned recognition and proclamations from mayors and governors. His positive impact on the entire state earned him special recognition from the State of Minnesota Legislature upon announcement of his retirement.
John was active with the Osman Shriners, serving on their Divan for ten years and ultimately as Potentate in 1996, when he coordinated the first international ceremonial in the Panama Canal since 1913. He proudly served on the Board of the Osman Shrine Hospital in the Twin Cities for 15 years including time as Board Chairman. He was still active in the Royal Order of Jesters into his 80's.

John was grateful for the sacrifices made by his loving wife, Patricia, and children Lara and Ryan, to be sure Gold Cross was always "Ready to Serve." Special thanks go out to Harvey & Candy Hengel; all Gold Cross employees; Osman Shriners, Rahn & Ann Lund, and all the lifelong friendships made.

John's greatest quality was his passion for serving the community and greatest achievement was all the lives positively affected thanks to the dedication of everyone who worked with Gold Cross. Countless lives have been saved in Rochester and across the globe thanks to their willingness to teach others and the tenacious spirit to push themselves for excellence. John's proudest moments were seeing both his children receive not only undergraduate degrees but graduate degrees. Innovation and lifelong learning were important to him, so he was delighted to pass that on to his children.

The family would like to thank the compassionate caregivers at The Homestead and Seasons Hospice. Visitation will occur at Ranfranz & Vine Funeral Home from 3 pm to 6 pm on Sunday, September 25, 2022, with a Masonic ceremony to follow. A service celebrating John's life will be held on Monday, September 26, 2022, 11 am at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Rochester with visitation an hour before the service. Burial will be at Oakwood Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family prefers memorial contributions to the Osman Shrine Auxiliary at http://www.OsmanShriners.org or Gloria Dei Lutheran Church at www.gloria-dei.com/giving.

Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home is honored to be serving the Perkins family; to share a special memory or condolence please visit www.ranfranzandvinefh.com

Services

Visitation

Sep
25
Sunday
Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Homes
5421 Royal Place NW
Rochester, MN 55901
3:00 PM - 6:00 PM

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Visitation

Sep
26
Monday
Gloria Dei Lutheran Church
1212 12th ave nw
Rochester, MN 55901
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

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Service

Sep
26
Monday
Gloria Dei Lutheran Church
1212 12th ave nw
Rochester, MN 55901
11:00 AM

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s smberge@charter.net on Sep 25, 2022

God bless your family at this time.
I will always be grateful to John for hiring me as a young (20 years) female paramedic, fresh out of college. I was with Gold Cross for ten years. I benefited from the experience and training provided by Gold Cross and medical director Dr. Roger White.
I have a special memory of tail gating at a Vikings game, GREAT time considering I’m a Packer fan.
Cherish the memories for they are wonderful.
S. Berge (207)

B BECCA on Sep 23, 2022

I'M SO SORRY FOR THE LOSS OF YOUR HUSBUND AND DAD. WHAT A GUY JOHN WAS. I REMEMBER HIM AND PAT COMING TO SIOUX FALLS SD. AND WE MEET UP FOR LUNCH AT PERKINS. JOHN WILL MISSED. BEST WISHES TO ALL OF YOU AT THIS HARD TIME. BECCA JO ZIMMER

R Ranfranz & Vine Funeral Home on Sep 22, 2022

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