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Obituaries

Bena Margaret Cole Perkins 

Bena Margaret Cole Perkins went to be with her Lord on Wednesday, May 17, 2023, at her home in the Parkview Community, Tullahoma. She was the elder child born March 25, 1938, to the late Frank Shuler Cole and Bena Margaret (McCool) Cole of Starkville, Mississippi. Margaret grew up in Starkville and attended Mississippi State University earning a Bachelor of Science majoring in Math. She marched with the Famous Maroon Band playing alto saxophone and was an active member of the Baptist Student Union. She finished college in three years while helping her father manage the Western Auto store in Starkville. After graduation, she taught school for one year in Starkville before moving to Murfreesboro to attain a Master of Education at MTSU. While there, she was set up on a blind date with Thomas Perkins. They didn’t see each other again for a year, during which time Margaret moved to Huntsville to work at Redstone Arsenal as a mathematician. A year later, there was a second date with Tom, whom she later married, and they moved to Tullahoma. When Tom took a one year leave of absence from AEDC to help his family in Kentucky, Margaret taught school in Bowling Green before relocating to Tullahoma and teaching in both the Tullahoma City and Franklin County school systems. She returned to school to earn her Ed.S. from TSU in 2000. Most recently, Margaret taught adults at Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Shelbyville. She and Tom made their home in Tullahoma for 52 years, raising their four children. Margaret was a faithful member of the Strangely Warmed Sunday school class, chancel choir and UMW at First United Methodist Church. She served as a GSA adult leader, a youth trip chaperone, a BSA cub pack mom, a Meals-on-Wheels volunteer and a PTA member at Bel-Aire Elementary, West Middle, and Tullahoma High Schools. She was an avid Elvis fan, a gardener, a bowler, an animal-lover, a community theater actress and supporter, a volunteer and fundraiser for multiple organizations, and a believer that, “It takes all kinds to make a world.” Margaret embodied absolute inclusivity and a helpful and nonjudgmental presence. She refused to give up on anyone. She moved to Parkview Community in April of 2022 where she found true community and dear friendships. The family wishes to thank her loving friends there as well as her excellent medical team at Vanderbilt Health. Margaret was proceeded in death by her parents and husband, Tom. She leaves behind her brother, James (Jimmy) S. Cole and Nora of Starkville, four children: Sarah (Greg) Carter, Mary Margaret (Glenn) Kinken, Tommy (Caroline) Perkins, and Nick Perkins, six grandchildren: Ben and Zoe Carter, Clara and Anna Kinken, Veronica and Delia Perkins, nieces, great-nieces and a great-nephew, a host of friends and loved ones and the community she adored. Services will be held at First United Methodist Church of Tullahoma on Monday, May 22, 2023 at 1:00 PM. The family will greet friends in Davidson Hall following the service. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that gifts be sent to FUMC Music Ministry.

 Kilgore Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

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