ForeverMissed
It is with a heavy heart that I write this note.  My wife and soul mate, Michele Perkins, passed away peacefully in her sleep on September 8, 2020.  She was an inspiration and a friend to thousands of people as well as a loving wife, mother of 3 incredible children, daughter, sister, aunt, and role model.  
Michele was born in Skokie, IL the second daughter of Bob and Helene Berger.  She attended Glenbrook South High School and continued her studies at the University of Wisconsin (Madison).  Michele graduated and followed her natural strengths into sales.  She found her passion in the pharmaceutical industry and proceeded to work as a pharmaceutical sales representative for over 22 years.

I remember vividly meeting Michele on a Sunday night at the Goose Island Beer Street Festival on August 27, 2000.  She was so full-of-life and seemed to know a LOT of people.  After meeting, our first actual date was a road trip to Madison to watch a college football game - I pretended to pull for Wisconsin to get on her good side.  A first date that was actually a weekend trip was a big commitment, but I was already hooked.  As you can guess, we hit it off and after dating for four wonderful years I asked her to marry me on one knee in Manhattan’s Central Park.  
Early in our marriage, Michele became pregnant with our first child, a daughter named Shea.  We doted on Shea for over one year then became pregnant again, this time with twin boys.  Blake and Britton were born just over two years after Shea, so we had three children in diapers, both of us worked full time, and I was in graduate school at night.  Michele thrived in that chaotic atmosphere, while I was always exhausted.  Even though it would be so much easier to manage the chaos in the comfort of our home, Michele insisted that we still take the kids to restaurants and on family vacations.  In between breastfeeding, pumping, and changing diapers, Michele would put the three kids in our triple stroller so we could hit one of Chicago's street festivals.  The 22-year-olds at the street festivals gave funny looks to the Perkins' family as we pushed the triple stroller through the crowd with both boys feeding themselves with their Podee bottles of milk.  No matter, Michele and I would joke that someday those 22-year-olds would have kids and probably stay home and stressed while we chose to be out having fun with our little ones.  

My wife was loved by many, and when I say many I mean thousands.  Her outgoing, fun, funny, inclusive, and caring personality resonated with everyone. Her stories were legendary and often intertwined each other without segues from one story to the next.  I would often stop her to try to keep the stories straight, and her response was always, "try to keep up."  Frankly, I spent 20 years trying to keep up with Michele yet always felt a few steps behind.  I would joke with her that she had to marry someone younger than her (Michele was five years older than me) because there is no way a man her age could keep up her dizzying pace. Our weekends were so packed with overlapping sporting events, parties, dinners, etc., that I could not wait to arrive at work on Monday morning to relax from the weekend. 

You will hear a recurring theme from people when describing Michele… she knows everyone!  Throughout the entire 20 years I knew my wife, I can honestly say we never walked an entire city block without stopping multiple times to catch-up with old friends we happened to see on the way; she never passed anyone she knew without a hug and a conversation.  

Michele's love for her family was unquestionable.  I remember her concern when we found out we were pregnant with twins... "will we have enough love to spread to three kids instead of giving all our love to just Shea?"  That was a fleeting thought because the moment Blake and Britton were born our love expanded perfectly.  Everything Michele did was out of love for her family.

Michele was very successful in her pharmaceutical sales' career winning top sales awards regularly. She was regarded as one of the elite contributors at her company.  I always envied how she balanced work and family; she was an overwhelming success at both roles.

I am convinced Michele's time on Earth was lengthened due to her intense workout schedule.  She normally worked-out 6 days per week at hard-core workout classes.  Even when ill, she was able to workout harder than most healthy people could (including me).  While she eventually had to succumb to her devastating disease, she was a fighter and a winner.  

I could write pages and pages about my lovely wife... Michele truly packed a lot of life in a short lifetime.  I know Michele is in heaven now telling story after story (without segues) about how much fun she had living her life, how her family and friends are her world, how much she misses everyone, and especially how proud she is of her children.
We want to thank so many people for the numerous things you have done for our entire family throughout this challenging last year of Michele's life.  It is impossible to thank everyone for all you have done, but it allowed us to focus our time to care for Michele and spend time with her.  Your generosity, prayers, and kind words are a testament to my wife's impact on you, and for that we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  
The purpose of this website is for people to post notes, stories, comments, and pictures to honor Michele.  We want those posts to be read by our children over time so they can remember their mother through others' eyes.  We plan to have a large celebration when we can gather a large group together safely.  Thank you in advance for your contributions to this site.
In lieu of flowers or gifts, we ask that you consider contributing in Michele's name to the Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation (http://www.rolfefoundation.org).  This foundation helped us immensely throughout Michele's battle with pancreatic cancer and we know she would want to help others in a similar way.  
-Tony, Shea, Blake & Britton Perkins
Posted by Joy Buckalew on September 19, 2020
Michele was one of my best friends in our college days at UW-Madison. She was the mutual connection of how I met my husband of almost 25yrs because yes she knew everyone! Michele had a way of making people feel comfortable and like you’ve known her forever. We had a lot of fun times at Badger games, on State Street, or just hanging out at the Union. Michele was larger than life and the strongest person I knew. Deepest sympathies and many prayers to her family.
Posted by Julie Nye on September 16, 2020
I met Michele in my mid 20’s at my first sales gig at LCI. Michele was my cube mate and definitely made my hours at work, much fun! We became very good friends both at work and outside. Michele definitely kept me on my toes, and I remember thinking.. If only I could bottle her energy!!! One of my favorite weekends in my life, was spent with her. We went to NYC to see the last world series of the century! We saw the New York Yankees sweep the Braves in game 3 and 4 and I don’t think we stopped laughing for more than 5 minutes over the entire weekend. That weekend is burned into my memory forever ❤️ While our lives diverged a bit, our paths always crossed here and there through mutual friends and family. I actually have worked for and with Michele’s sister Rhonda for the past 4.5 years, and have loved getting to know Rhonda. There were so many times Rhonda would do or say something, and I would think I was with Michele :) I am so fortunate I’ve been able to be part of both sisters lives. I am so happy they had each other as they are both amazing human beings. I have posted a picture of a day when I ran into Michele at Old Town Art Fair after not seeing her for a few years. And just like Tony wrote, Michele stopped and took the time to talk with me. Really talk, not just a quick hello. She introduced me to her baby daughter, Shea, who was just the cutest thing ever. Michele was beaming with beauty over being a new mommy. Michele was a bright light. I’m so incredibly sad she was taken from this world so soon. My deepest condolences to her family and all that loved her.
Posted by Kathy Gerber on September 16, 2020
I have so many wonderful memories of living across the street from Michele. From block parties, cookie exchanges or just catching up in the front yard. She was more than a neighbor she was a friend.

Michele was so energetic and full of life. Someone you just wanted to be around.

Having a son and twin girls a few years older than Shea, Britton and Blake -We use to say it must be something in the water because four houses on the block had twins.

Michele loved the Cubs, Bears and Badgers. She was so excited to be invited to the playoff game that the Cubs won to go to the World Series as Errol tried to leave early because he was a White Sox fan!

We would wait in anticipation of what she had planned for Halloween.

I remember Alexis and I visiting your house in Michigan and I could understand how it was her happy place. 

She was one of the first I told when Aaron got into Wisconsin because I knew she would be excited to have another Badger on the block.

She will be missed in the neighborhood but her spirit will live on.

Love, Errol, Kathy, Aaron, Sally and Alexis
Posted by Betty Becker on September 15, 2020
A note for Tony, Shea, Britten, Blake: to a lady whose light lit any room she was in, to a lady whose joy in living was contagious, to a lady who cared and
let you know it, to a lady--your wife, your Mom: quite a Lady!!
Posted by Michelle Myers-Glower on September 15, 2020
Dear Helene,
I am so deeply saddened for your loss. I just found out reading the Obits and was just stunned to see this. You spoke of Michele a lot at work and because we shared same name you couldn't be more proud of her. May you and your family be blessed, thinking of you.. Shelly (Michelle M Glower) Sarasota FL.
Posted by Andrea Sill on September 14, 2020
Shea, Britton and Blake - I so wish I had the chance to get to know your mom better, especially from reading the beautiful tributes to her. Our daughters were on the same travel softball team. My daughter, Emery, made a connection with Shea and when I met your mom, I instantly liked her. I remember one softball game in particular we sat next to one another. Your mom was completely prepared - she had chairs, jackets, blankets, a cooler, snacks, etc. She definitely knew what she was doing! I, on the other hand, had just a chair to sit on and realized very quickly that I was going to freeze when the sun went down. I had such a great time getting to know your mom that evening. By the end of the game, I was wrapped in one of your blankets, sharing your drinks and food and felt like I had known your mom for years. I’ve watched dozens (probably hundreds) of softball and baseball games over the years, but I remember this one especially well. Your mom got sick shortly after this game, and unfortunately we saw each other only a few times thereafter. I’m so sorry we didn’t get a chance to know each other better, but just in the very short time I knew her, it was clear to me that she was a wonderful mother, person and friend.

Tony, your tribute to Michelle is incredibly touching. We are so sorry for your loss, and we extend our deepest sympathies to you, the kids and your and Michelle’s extended families.

Much love,

The Sill family
Posted by Simi Ranajee on September 13, 2020
Michele will always be remembered as the one who lit up any event. Her contagious smile, zest for life and ability to make any gathering even more special just by her presence. I can't get out of my head the last time we chatted. Sitting on your living room floor hugging, me in my coat about to leave and us crying together about life's situations. She was so strong and beautiful always and concerned for her family but in that moment she was only thinking about Tony and the kids. Sending so much love and wishing whatever could alleviate some of the loss. Love you all.
Posted by Suzanne Wilkes on September 13, 2020
I met Michele during college and she made my years at Madison so much fun. She made everyone feel welcomed and I have so many great memories of her during college; from football games, State Street, trips to Chicago, and even long study sessions in the library. She truly embraced college life and made our time at Madison all that more exciting. She will be deeply missed and my heart breaks over this news. Love and prayers to her family - Suzy Schade Wilkes
Posted by Susan Stone on September 13, 2020
I moved to Chicago at the beginning of the summer 2000. I remember meeting Michele that summer and seeing her out at various parties and events. She was always the life of the party- friendly, kind and welcoming. Over the years our lives took different paths - she devoted to her family and work. But whenever I would run into her, she was as friendly as if we'd seen each other last week. I even ran into her a couple times at my doctor's office. When I told the doctor, they of course raved about what a great person she was. I am so sorry. She was taken way too soon. The world has truly lost a bright light. I consider myself lucky to have stood in it's shine for a little bit. Prayers and love to her family.
Posted by Deb Bakal on September 12, 2020
Michele had an energy and enthusiasm for life that was infectious and a bubbly personality that invigorated everyone around her. I knew her from the mid 1990’s as she was a pharmaceutical representative for my dermatology residency and was so happy to see her again many years later when she covered my practice. She would always put a smile on my face with her fun visits. My husband and I who practice together really enjoyed attending a party with her during a summer dermatology meeting on a rooftop of a hotel a few years back. She was the soul of hospitality-making sure all the guests were comfortable and having a good time. I can still hear her distinctive voice and miss seeing her in my office. May her memory be for a blessing.
Posted by Susan Kukielka on September 12, 2020
I remember Mrs. Perkins as a Decatur parent who always came in with a smile no matter what was going on around her. I can picture that beautiful smile and hope that it will always bring comfort and joy to your entire family.
May Michele rest in peace. With deepest sympathies 
Posted by Kim Jockl on September 12, 2020
Dear Tony, Shea, Boys & Family
I just heard the devastating news that Michelle your dear wife & Mom passed away. My heart is breaking for all if you.
I loved gabbing with her at the Decatur window! Her smile & energy were infectious! Shea, I will say lots of prayers for you and your brothers and of course Dad too. Sending hugs to all of you! The world was a better brighter place because of your Mom. How lucky I was to cross her path and your paths @ Decatur Classical. My deepest sympathy & love to a very special family.
Mrs. Jockl
Posted by John Wagner on September 12, 2020
What an incredibly wonderful person Michelle is. Way too young. She will be missed. My best to Tony. Bring the kids back to firehouse soon
Posted by Todd Van Fleet on September 12, 2020
Tony,

Karla and I were heartbroken to hear of Michele's passing. Your touching tribute to her and the gallery photos really brought back memories of her great energy and spirit. I particularly enjoyed the ones of the human pyramid in the middle of Waveland while CPD looks on.

Please accept our condolences. You and your family are in our prayers.

Best,
Todd and Karla Van Fleet
Posted by Lori George on September 11, 2020
Michele was truly one of a kind. I knew Michele from her many visits to our office to promoting one of the many pharmaceuticals her company sold. Let me tell you she was always successful with her persuasion. If one of the providers wasn’t writing one of the many wonderful drugs she was promoting they were by the time she left. She was dynamo. We were also pregnant at the same time her with her first and me with my last. So we often had conversations on how excited she was about becoming a mom. She was a very proud mama. She was always showing pics to the office of her babies and telling us a story or two about one of them. One time we were talking about the kids and and I was saying something about my son and his age and i was corrected by Michele on his age and of course she was right. Oh we laughed. My point is she listened to every detail and cared so much for the people she made a bond with. Halloween is something I will also remember about Michele. Oh how excited she would get planning the family themed costumes. She put her all into. Every year we looked forward to seeing Michele And the family in those costumes. I could hear her saying wait till you see this years with a big smile on her face. Let me tell you those costume were always amazing every detail. Rest In Peace my friend you will be missed and always remembered. Stay strong Perkin’s family just like Michele showed you.
Posted by Mike DeBoard on September 11, 2020
I met Michele in the 1990’s when we worked at Medicis. Michele’s life was a bright light that burned out way to soon. I was so happy to see that she was active and happy right up until the end with her family. The Perkins family is blessed with wonderful memories of Michele that you can carry with you forever. I certainly will as well. Thanks for keeping us all updated on Michele’s Journey.
Mike DeBoard
Posted by Wendy Taylor on September 11, 2020
Dear Berger and Perkins Families,
I had the pleasure of working with Michele at Medicis, we would joke about people not knowing what they were missing when it came to Chicago. She will truly be miss. Keeping you and your family in my prayers.
Posted by Denise Morris on September 10, 2020
We did not know Michele well but our lives intersected at Fred's Camp where we had three kids around the same age (including twins) and at Oz Park Softball over the past few years. Michele struck me, as she did many others, as a force, fiercely protecting and pushing her children to do great things. I can only imagine her grief over leaving them before seeing the wonderful things they WILL continue to do. She made it all look easy--being at camp, games, practice when she had many other things going on. Tony, it was clear that you adored her and her loss is sure to be painful. We grieve with you and hope her spirit lives on in your lives. xoxox Morris family (Don, Denise, Paulina, Susanna and Brody)
Posted by Amanda Weiner on September 10, 2020
Michele left a mark on everyone she met. She knew everyone and feared nothing. She listened to my challenges and I always knew her empathy was genuine, real and came from a place of true understanding. She wasn’t self-conscious and wouldn’t let you feel that way either. She was the person, who when you saw her at an event, you immediately knew it was going to be 100x more fun than you thought it would be.

Michele taught us to say yes and try something. She reminded us to laugh at ourselves and participate. She taught us how to make everyday events fun. She showed us how to be brave in the face of extreme adversity. She taught us to always give the class stuffed animal they send home for the night a spin in the dryer before it touches anything. Most importantly, she taught us to always, always wear something short and tight.

I was fortunate enough to visit Michele a few weeks back to say goodbye. I read her a letter that I had been writing off and on for the past year. I had been trying to somehow capture some of my favorite memories of the crazy, bright, fun, powerful force who declared us friends and let her know how much she meant to me. I promised her it wouldn’t be too sappy and we would laugh, because that what you did with Michele - you laughed.

Here are a few of my favorite parts:

I’ll never forget the first time I met you. It was Halloween and the boys were in the first grade. You were blonde, because in Perkins family tradition your costumes were over the top. That year your theme was Grease and you were Sandy. Tony, as Danny, was reading the class a story and answering questions about his profession while we were gossiping in the back of the class. I thought immediately, “well, there’s a family who may love theme parties more than I do. We have to be friends.” And, when I found out you went to Wisconsin, that just solidified it. Go Badgers!

You have that spark that makes people want to be around you. It’s a rare and special gift that attracts people of all kinds who want to be your friend and want some of your light to shine on them. That gift, you have passed on in spades to your children. That spark shines brightly and clearly through Blake, Britton and Shea. 

Your spark attracts wonderful people and I do think our little Alcott Mom gang formed because of you. You are the ringleader of our crazy circus. That first year we began our tradition of Whatever-Grade-They-Are-In Boy Moms + Heidi dinners. It usually goes down like this: you send a text that it’s time for another dinner and everyone texts back that they are in. Then the day of the dinner there may be a call to find out who is ready for drinks early. Usually most of us are. I think the hallmark is how many times the wait staff tries to take our order and we have to turn them away because we haven’t even opened the menus yet. It can be as long as a full hour before we order food because the food and drink are secondary. We talk about everything and nothing at all, we gossip, and we’re completely inappropriate.

During the teacher’s strike last year we determined that if we combined all of our skills we could have a kick ass home school. It was one of my favorite text chains ever. I would teach language arts, Emily would teach law, Lindsay would teach media studies, Erin would be our art teacher, Heidi, our science teacher, Tracy would teach home ec, with a special unit on ironing, and Terri would be the lunch lady. We volunteered Josh, to teach math and finance, Michael to give seminars on being an entrepreneur, and Ronnie to teach PE. But, your contribution might have been the most important. You would teach the kids how to sell drugs so we could turn this into a money making operation. You also volunteered to teach Sex Ed by sitting the kids down for a viewing of Fast Times at Ridgemont High, followed by a discussion.

However, we may want to think twice about your Sex Ed curriculum. Another of my favorite memories of you is from a party right before the boys were about to start Sex Ed. You said “Well I told the boys they would learn about when their balls will drop.” And my husband Josh looked at you and said “Michele, it’s not like New Year’s Eve. We’re not waiting around for balls to drop.” I still can’t tell the story without laughing. Watching the ball drop changed forever and makes me automatically think of you.

As I got to know Blake and Britton and Shea, my admiration for you only grew exponentially. They are, simply put, incredible. I describe Blake and Britton as “the kids who don’t just put the dirty dishes in the sink, they put them in the dishwasher.” Their ability to befriend, include, joke around with, push and protect my son, who we know isn’t the easiest person, is something for which I am forever grateful. Their maturity, easy-going natures, curiosity, and ability to laugh at themselves is everything you hope for in your children and the people they choose to befriend. These qualities come straight from you and Tony, so thank you. I may joke that Britton is my favorite because he’s a Wisconsin fan, but the truth is you all are my favorites.

I feel so lucky that we were able to spend some one-on-one time this year. It didn’t matter if I was driving us up to Wisconsin to give the boys private skiing lessons, spontaneously coming to Michigan for the most perfect day of the summer, or simply walking around the block, spending time with you is always a gift.
Posted by Amy Zemnick on September 10, 2020
Our Mayor of Gowdy Shores---Your absence will be felt profoundly. The first summer we had our new home in Gowdy Shores one of my favorite memories was "cocktailing" as Michele always called it, in the pool until late into the evening. The kids were playing and the adults were all chatting. It felt so wonderful to be a part of something that seemed so magical and special and that was because of Michele. She took everyone in with such open arms, everyone was family. 

I always admired how she packed life in. Every time I would see her on the beach she had come back from a baseball game, or was heading to a concert. Nothing stopped her.  She would be on the beach playing cards or paddle boarding and all I was thinking about would be taking a nap. 

I always admired her friendships. While I didn't know her long, she seemed to have so many friends and people who loved her from every stage of life. I especially saw that love and devotion in the end as I watched her surrounded by such love. It was truly the most beautiful thing to witness. 

Tony, Shea, Britton and Blake--I am sure that it feels like you were robbed of such an incredible wife and mother but it also seems to me that you got the gift of such an incredible wife and mother who, was in so many ways larger than life. To be in the presence of that is such a remarkable gift that many people will never get at all and you got to live that every day.

I, as so many of us, are completely heartbroken for your loss. I know that there will never be anything to take away that pain. However, I also know that she loved you so wholeheartedly and that is not a love that everyone experiences. I know that she will continue to show you that love from the other side and will continue to walk beside you and fill you all with the same love that she did when she was here. 


Posted by Caryn Sanders-Marcus on September 10, 2020
I had the fortunate opportunity to meet your Mom shortly after you were born, Shea. We had a Roscoe Village mom's meetup at a local restaurant. I could not believe mere weeks after you were born (about 3 week maybe) your Mom was out having a solo dinner with friends and did not look one bit tired. I was in total awe of your mom that night. She had this gutsy, confident, funny, and vivacious personality.

It turns out we lived around the corner from you all and the Barry folks were kind enough to invite the Damen folks to your annual block party. Over the years I really enjoyed our conversations in passing in the neighborhood and at the block party.

Later, I ran into your mom while she was having lunch in the neighborhood. She told me she was pregnant and having twins! I remember walking away thinking, "If anyone can handle having twins, it's Michelle."

I will never forget the site of your mom as one big blueberry during one Halloween. Hilarious...so so funny. Every year my family would look out for yours, waiting to see the family costume. 

Powerhouse is another word that comes to mind when I think about your mom. Although I was not a close friend, it was not hard to see that your mom did it all, 100% of the time. We should all be a bit more like Michelle :-)

My favorite picture of your mom is the one here in the red dress. I remember when it popped up on my Facebook feed. This picture perfectly represents her "sparkle."

May you carry that sparkle with you the rest of your lives. We are thinking of you all.

Love Always,
The Marcus Family





Posted by Jeanie Chung on September 10, 2020
I still have a picture on a device somewhere of my daughter and Shea after Michele took them for makeovers. She was a bundle of energy and joy, and the world is a little dimmer with her gone. Our thoughts are with you all.
Posted by Sharon Silberg on September 10, 2020
It was a super hot Back to School night at Decatur. We were in the multi purpose room and I, unlike your mom, was sweating beyond belief. I was a hot mess and not the good kind. My whole plan was to find out what was in store for 1st grade and then get out of there. And then this gorgeous ridiculous human, known as Michele Berger-Perkins, turned around and asked me......me who likes going to bed at 8:30p.m. and has no issue with it.....me who was gross and sweaty and probably wearing something completely uncool, "Where's the after party tonight?" 

I wondered if she knew she was at Decatur, truly the dorkiest school and parent body ever on the planet (and the parents and kids all know it so no biggie) and why of all people she was asking me. And thus began one of my most fascinating friendships ever with a woman I could only hope to be cool enough to orbit.

What I loved most about Michele was just her complete passion for everything. She was passionate about Tony. She was passionate about Shea, and Blake and Britton. She was passionate about her parents, sister, nieces, other family, friends. Michele was passionate about Badgers and Bears and Bulls and sitting on the floor in the DePaul gym watching Fred's Camp basketball, and sitting in the field watching Oz Park Softball. She was passionate about Halloween Costumes, and themed party costumes, and outfits for fundraisers. She was passionate about her kids' education, school choices, ways in which all our institutions could do better. Passionate about music, and young boy band artists in particular--although she played it off like it was all for Shea ;). She was passionate about experiences of all kinds....including vacations. No beach available to her satisfaction, well then the dude ranch was the obvious answer. I mean....really??

Sometimes her passion was well..... intended to mortify her children, like Jogathon....Shea.....and then it worked to mortify my children as she always found a way to bring on co-conspirators like Jed and Ms. Sharping. Or how she'd needle Jill Corcoran every chance she could for a night out knowing Michele had met her match with Jill on the best in work/life balance.

And there was never a phone call where I answered the phone and there was a greeting. Mostly it was on my way to and from work, and I would put the call on speaker and listen to whatever the topic of the day was for about 20 minutes before I even had to speak. (Honestly, Shea, your mom should have been called the original Squacky). And the topics were never the same, and I could rarely truly help, but it was amusing for me, and hopefully therapeutic for Michele and I will miss them terribly.

I will never know how Michele fit in all her passions. How she made it to the gym before I'd even crawled out of the house to take Shea and Max to newspaper at 6:15a.m. Or how she'd be top of her game at work, the very best wife and parent I knew, and have her Facebook game on point for all her weekend socializing. I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

But what I do know, is that more than anything she was so proud of Shea and Blake and Britton....every part of you. She loved how thoughtful, bright, athletic, kind, gorgeous, curious, and fun you all are and how she found room to have all that passion for the three of you, and your dad, and everything else in this world will always be amazing to me and something that will inspire me always.

We're thinking about all of you, and Michele all the time. And when you need us we will always be here. We are passionate about Perkins.
Posted by Lisa Chron on September 10, 2020
Dear Berger and Perkins Families,
Michele was such a shining light and a joy to everyone who met her. The first thing that comes to mind when remembering Michele is her hearty laugh. We lived 2 houses down from The Ball Family and would see Michele and Tony and kids at every family birthday party (and there were many!). Papa Bob would dress as a clown, Grandma Helene would bake her famous cakes, and there was always, always so much love and happiness to share in. We send you all love and virtual hugs during this time. 
Love,
The Chron Family - Tim, Lisa, Courtney, Lexi, Lindsay, Kasey and Tyler
Posted by Kim Connerty on September 10, 2020
Hearing of Michele's passing is heartbreaking and somewhat hard to believe. How can she be in heaven so soon? Michele and I met through a mutual friend (Mo) who was in sales with her at Medicis. We spent time at Mo's lake house together when she was dating Tony. It seemed we were on a parallel path as we were planning our weddings at the same time, and we were both pregnant with our first children together. Michele would give me planning tips for the wedding from her wedding planner. Shae and Lexi were born around the same time. Michele and I would have baby play dates and stroll down Southport together. I ventured off to the suburbs when Lexi was a year old, while Michele continued her city adventures. I remember going down to the city to the Fletcher block party and connecting again with Michele like no time had passed. I always looked forward to getting the Perkins holiday card each year. The family Halloween costumes, and professional family photos were always among my favorite. I can only imagine that Shae, Britton, and Blake are beaming with personality from both Michele and Tony. As I've looked at Michele's many friends posting pictures of Michele, I've seen her connected to several I know that I didn't realize were also connected to Michele. As Tony said, she had thousands of friends, it's like the Kevin Bacon game, playing six degrees of separation from Michele Perkins. We are all so fortunate that Michele has touched our lives, she will be greatly missed.
Posted by Tracy Kellner on September 10, 2020
It's always so hard to hear about a fellow classmate from childhood years passing away. Michele's passing was truly a hard one for me. I knew Michele back in the days of Springman Jr. High and GBS. We didn't hang out much, but she was always such a kind person, we were friends from afar. She was a cheerleader and I was a Titan Pom. You didn't mix back then.... Later in 2005(ish), I ran into Michele while she was at an office doing her sales calls. I then ran into her allover the city because I too was in sales. We always laughed that we stalked each other. My family and I then joined Temple Jeremiah where every year at High Holidays we would see each other and give one another a huge hug. Last year I sat next to her and her mother during services. I cried during the healing prayer..... Each Shabbat service I attended after that I would say the healing prayer for her.  This high holiday time which is right around the corner will not be the same without seeing Michele and her beautiful family. The kids so dressed to perfection. I'd admire how she told me her busy life and I always thought "how the heck does she keep it all together". She will be missed by too many people to even count. I wish I knew her better during our adult lives, but she was always in my heart and mind and will be truly missed. I hope time will mend everyone's heart, I'm truly sorry for the loss.
Tracy Kellner
Posted by Jennifer Seuring on September 10, 2020
Tony, Shea, Britton and Blake, and to the entire Berger and extended Perkins families,

I am heartbroken at the news of Michele's passing. This is the most beautiful and moving tribute. In between tears, I laughed at the "keep up with me" line! She would be sharing a story with me and would have moved to another story, and I was still stuck on two stories ago.

Despite the many years that were taken from her way too early, she lived more life in 50 years than almost anyone. She was the most vibrant, hilarious, energetic, cool, kind-hearted and fantastic person. Truly one of a kind.

Tony, she absolutely adored you and your relationship is one that everyone on earth strives to have.

Her love for Shea, Britton and Blake was unmeasurable. I remember so fondly our crazy block parties. I remember when Shea was hit with the baseball bat during the pinata only to fast forward for a few hours and there was Michele going down the water slide in her dress after several cocktails!! Then she later taught Holden the important job of tee-peeing neighbor's trees with toilet paper (an "important life skill" in her own words). That is how I will always remember her. Her zest for life, her love for her family, her love of work and working out, the amazing Perkins Halloween family get-ups and her thousands of adoring friends.

Until you meet again......may Michele rest gently in peace.

Love,
Jennifer Seuring
Posted by Jill Cole on September 10, 2020
Dear Helene, Bob and family,
I am so sorry for your loss. Sending virtual hugs to you and Michele’s family. 
I will keep you all in my heart. 
Jill Goodman Cole

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Joy Buckalew on September 19, 2020
Michele was one of my best friends in our college days at UW-Madison. She was the mutual connection of how I met my husband of almost 25yrs because yes she knew everyone! Michele had a way of making people feel comfortable and like you’ve known her forever. We had a lot of fun times at Badger games, on State Street, or just hanging out at the Union. Michele was larger than life and the strongest person I knew. Deepest sympathies and many prayers to her family.
Posted by Julie Nye on September 16, 2020
I met Michele in my mid 20’s at my first sales gig at LCI. Michele was my cube mate and definitely made my hours at work, much fun! We became very good friends both at work and outside. Michele definitely kept me on my toes, and I remember thinking.. If only I could bottle her energy!!! One of my favorite weekends in my life, was spent with her. We went to NYC to see the last world series of the century! We saw the New York Yankees sweep the Braves in game 3 and 4 and I don’t think we stopped laughing for more than 5 minutes over the entire weekend. That weekend is burned into my memory forever ❤️ While our lives diverged a bit, our paths always crossed here and there through mutual friends and family. I actually have worked for and with Michele’s sister Rhonda for the past 4.5 years, and have loved getting to know Rhonda. There were so many times Rhonda would do or say something, and I would think I was with Michele :) I am so fortunate I’ve been able to be part of both sisters lives. I am so happy they had each other as they are both amazing human beings. I have posted a picture of a day when I ran into Michele at Old Town Art Fair after not seeing her for a few years. And just like Tony wrote, Michele stopped and took the time to talk with me. Really talk, not just a quick hello. She introduced me to her baby daughter, Shea, who was just the cutest thing ever. Michele was beaming with beauty over being a new mommy. Michele was a bright light. I’m so incredibly sad she was taken from this world so soon. My deepest condolences to her family and all that loved her.
Posted by Kathy Gerber on September 16, 2020
I have so many wonderful memories of living across the street from Michele. From block parties, cookie exchanges or just catching up in the front yard. She was more than a neighbor she was a friend.

Michele was so energetic and full of life. Someone you just wanted to be around.

Having a son and twin girls a few years older than Shea, Britton and Blake -We use to say it must be something in the water because four houses on the block had twins.

Michele loved the Cubs, Bears and Badgers. She was so excited to be invited to the playoff game that the Cubs won to go to the World Series as Errol tried to leave early because he was a White Sox fan!

We would wait in anticipation of what she had planned for Halloween.

I remember Alexis and I visiting your house in Michigan and I could understand how it was her happy place. 

She was one of the first I told when Aaron got into Wisconsin because I knew she would be excited to have another Badger on the block.

She will be missed in the neighborhood but her spirit will live on.

Love, Errol, Kathy, Aaron, Sally and Alexis
Recent stories

All In

Shared by Suzanne Rovner on September 22, 2020
We first met the Perkins family through OPBA softball, with Shea joining the team and Tony coaching. It was an amazing season of softball that year, and from the beginning the entire Perkins family brought enthusiasm and athleticism in full force. Michele, alone, seemed to double the excitement from the sidelines with her unending support for Shea and the team. And that is really what Michele was fundamentally about: she was ALL IN. She was all in as a fan, all in as a confidant, all in in celebration, all in on life. This was evident in everything she did - from frequent texts about whatever fun stuff was going on to the way she brought creativity to a themed party. She wrung every ounce of joy out of life. 

I'll share this small anecdote as one small example: One thing Michele and I shared was our love of boy bands. Given the opportunity, we both used the excuse to satiate our 'tween girl desire to see the latest band -- as if it were an obligation to go. I don't know who was more excited to see Shawn Mendes - Shea or Michele - but of course she had to get her own pic with him (see attached). When we went to see Why Don't We, she was all in on the merch. I thought she was partially joking when she told me she would wear it, but I shouldn't have doubted her. She showed up in full-on concert merch for the show, and owned the outfit completely.  She looked amazing, and I sort of envied the way she could pull it off effortlessly. 

I hope these memories help in some small way to get you through the devastating loss of Michele. I hope that memories of her strength of character, endless love, and unbounded energy will help in some way to carry you through the days to come. She was a brave, kind soul, and will be missed by so many. Wishing you peace and love, always.

The Rovners
Suzanne, Gary, Sarah, Natalie & Josh


From Cousin Pam

Shared by Pamela Becker on September 13, 2020
I have so many memories of Michele going back all the years of her life from our family get-togethers. I remember how her happy, bubbly personality was clear right from the start. I remember her as a toddler joyously doing somersaults in my parents’ living room during a holiday party, and making all of us laugh. As she grew up, she always greeted me so affectionately and made sure to ask how I was doing and what was new in my life. Michele was one of a kind, and as my heart goes out to all those who love her, I know her memory is, indeed, a blessing.

20 years...

Shared by Kristin Miller on September 12, 2020
Tony, Shea, Blake and Britton: Our hearts are broken for all of you. We loved Michele so much and have so many fund memories going back to the fall of 2000.

I remember the first time we met Michele when she and Tony had come from a theme party to meet a bunch of us at a bar in Chicago. The laughs began that day and we are forever grateful for the 20 years we had with you Michele. I shared some pictures of us through the years that highlight all the good times we had: weddings, babies, trips and Cubs games. The Millers and the Perkins have always joked about our paths to marriage and children - just one year apart. We had six children and two sets of twins from May 2006-February 2009. What an adventure! Michele, you always knew the best restaurants, planned the most fun outings and taught me about so many things. Highlights of the last few years include our trip to Vegas, skiing in Michigan and spending time together during the Cubs 2016 World Series run. 

Michele, thank you for being a great friend walking beside me through our journey as wives and moms. I am going to miss you so much. Scott and I will be there with the boys for Tony and the kids. Rest in peace and know that I will be forever grateful for having you in our lives.