On October 7, Bonita "Boni" Laverne Perkins of Boise passed away, surrounded by love. She was 85 years old.
Boni was born on September 8, 1937, to Hazel and Leo Eikermann in Leoti, Kansas. She was a middle child with two brothers, William and Robert, an arrangement that doubtless aided the development of her deep strength and sharp wit. She was very active in the Church along with her mother. Their family moved to Flagler, Colorado in May of 1946.
Boni showed athletic talent early in life, and was a cheerleader and accomplished baton twirler in high school. She went on to attend Colorado State College in nearby Greely, pursuing a dual degree in fine arts and physical education.
Shortly before graduating from college, Boni met Jim Perkins at the Flagler High School when he was applying for a teaching position as band director. She and a girlfriend were there to investigate two potential new teachers coming to their little town. Boni ended up taking Jim to the In-n-Out that August day to introduce him to the locals. They began dating and Jim had proposed marriage by that Christmas. The two wed after Boni graduated, on Flag Day in 1959. Boni was entrepreneurial and earned extra money by putting on jewelry shows, driving her Volkswagen Beetle to sell to anyone within fifty miles.
They moved to nearby Yuma where their first son, Ed, was born on December 5, 1960. Then in August of 1962, the family moved to Boise, Idaho. Boni was starting a position teaching PE at East Junior High, and Jim was starting a new position at Borah High. In that era, a teacher couldn't be "showing" and she soon needed to resign to have their second son, Blaine, born on May 7, 1963. Their third son, Greg, followed on May 14, 1966. Finally, their fourth son, Jeff, joined the family on May 28, 1969.
Boni masterfully wrangled four very active, mischievous boys, and somehow (mostly) kept her sanity. About nine years after Jeff was born, she decided it was safe to return to work outside the house and joined the fledgling Dermatology Clinic of Idaho, overseeing office operations and acting as manager and assistant until her retirement 27 years later.
Throughout, Boni enriched everyone around her. She became a second mom to dozens of her kids' friends and to thousands of Jim's band, drill team, and flag corps students. Her arts and athletic skills let her design costumes and teach Jim's flag corps and twirlers advanced movements with their props for shows and competitions. She took up tennis seriously when one of her boys showed an interest, and the game spread through the family. They filled the house with trophies and she earned top rankings in the state, but her proudest tennis achievements were becoming mixed doubles champion of Idaho with Ed, and winning two trips to New York to play at the US Open with Ed and Blaine by placing as high as the final four in a nationwide tournament. In retirement, she turned to golf to spend more time with Jim, working her handicap down to 17 and placing well in many tournaments. The first time she joined in on the boys' annual Fathers Day round, she cemented her golf bona fides with a documented hole in one.
Boni's influence was broad beyond the athletic. She was a voracious reader with a vast library, encouraging scholarship and reflection in her boys. She maintained her fine arts skills, subtly teaching those around her. She grew into a competitive Bridge player with Jim. She became a licensed Ham Radio operator with her daughters-in-law. On a dare with two of her sons, she took an IQ test and earned an invitation into Mensa. She joined Jim as a board member actively serving Boise Music Week for nearly six decades. And she mastered countless card, word, board, and tile games to enjoy the company of everyone around her.
Boni's last years were difficult, and her love of life let us enjoy her much longer than we could reasonably hope. She battled breast cancer ten years ago, and a heart attack five years later. She fought the relentless progress of COPD, which left her homebound. Finally, she suffered a stroke that damaged the use of the muscles around her already-damaged lungs. There were no more battles to win. Her mind was sharp, but her body was spent. In a final act underscoring the grace and strength (and even humor) that she brought to everything, Boni chose to stop all life-saving measures, play a last round of Five Crowns with her family (which of course she won), say her goodbyes to each loved one, and pass away peacefully.
Boni is survived and dearly missed by her husband Jim, their four sons Ed (Darline), Blaine (Kathy), Greg (Tammy), and Jeff (Karen), seven grandchildren, one great-grandchild, and her brother Robert (Shermalee) Eikermann. She was preceded in death by her parents Hazel and Leo Eikermann, and her brother William Eikermann.
A memorial service will be held at Alden Waggoner Funeral Chapel, 5400 W Fairview Ave, Boise, ID 83706 on October 22, 2022 at 2:00pm.