George P. Perkins
January 7, 1930 – July 27, 2020
George P. Perkins, ski rental icon of South Lake Tahoe passed away peacefully in his Lake Almanor home on July 27, 2020. George was born January 7, 1930 in Chicago, Illinois. George is a direct descendant of the renowned King family of Chicago, originators of Fannie Mae Candy and “Chicken a la King”.
George attended New Trier High School. After graduating, George broke the North Chicago mold by heading to University of Colorado to graduate in Business Administration. George enlisted in the Korean War, and served with Hawaii’s famous 5th regimental combat team. He attended officer finance school and was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in 1952.
After the military, George lived in Colorado Springs, where he met JoAnn Beresford. They were married September 10, 1955 in a ceremony of over 400 people in Mineral, CA. JoAnn being the daughter of Mineral Lodge resort owner and skiing pioneer Husky Beresford. George immediately went to work for the business as Lassen Park Ski Area manager that Husky had leased for 10 years. George learned to ski quickly in the new parallel style, became a ski instructor, and started a youth racing program called “Lightening L”.
In 1966, the Lassen Park Ski Area lease was not renewed and George was devastated. He got his real estate broker’s license and started Perkins Realty. George developed two subdivisions in Mineral. On the Mineral Elementary school board, he spearheaded building a new school, in place of a condemned building.
Needing work in the winter, George leased Breeze Ski Rentals in South Lake Tahoe in 1970. Subsequently he bought the franchise and an empty lot on Ski Run Boulevard where he built The Ski Renter building in 1975. Unfortunately, the drought years set in, but George managed to save his business by being the sole employee.
The tides turned and The Ski Renter became such a success that George expanded to having more than seven shops at one time in the western United States. He purchased additional property on Ski Run Boulevard and built two commercial buildings. George took pride in mentoring his employees to become managers, and when he retired, then successful owners.
Meanwhile during the summers, George wrote two books, “Hiking Trails of Lassen Park” (still sold today) and Visiting the Western National Parks. George was an active member of the Lassen Foundation which was instrumental in building the new park visitor center. He also managed his 160 acre George’s Christmas Tree Farm. George loved hiking and photography, powder skiing, fly fishing, and playing tennis. Each ski season, he would account for his skiing success in vertical feet and skied well into his late 70’s. And no joke, he managed his time to include at least one of these endeavors 360 out of 365 days a year.
In 2017, George developed mild dementia, and was well taken care of by his two loving care givers in his home. George never lost his witty sense of humor and taste for a decent glass of wine.
George is predeceased by his wife of 30 years, Gail Davis Perkins of Chico, CA. He is survived by his three daughters Heidi Freeman, Lynn Perkins, and Jody Johnson and son-in-law, Frank Johnson. His seven grandchildren include Amanda Cantowine, Heather Freeman, Carl Perkins Freeman, Jordan Johnson, Sade Odukodge, Sevee Johnson and Kemi Odukodge and two great grandchildren. He is also survived by his stepchildren Deidra Jane Cross, Jill Quezada, Darcee Taylor and step son-in-law, Jamie Taylor, and seven step grand-children.
In lieu of flowers, consider donating to one of his favorite charities: Lassen Park Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, Plumas County Search And Rescue, or The Feather River Land Trust. Due to Covid-19, a Celebration of Life will be planned for a future date.
If you are interested in attending, please email gppcelebrationoflife at gmail dot com to be updated on this event.
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