Age 92, Retired partner of Debevoise & Plimpton, who served in Eisenhower’s sub-cabinet as an Assistant Secretary to the new Department of Health, Education and Welfare (1953-1956) and as Counsel to Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller (1958-1959), died on Sunday, March 10 in New York City.
Born May 21, 1926, in Boston, raised in Brookline, MA, the son of Paul Franklin Perkins and Agnes Leeds Burchard Perkins, he was a graduate of Pomfret School (1943), Harvard College (NROTC/ Ensign) (1947) and Harvard Law School (1949).
Joined Debevoise, Plimpton & McLean in 1949, became a partner in 1957 and retired in 2001. Initiated and opened the Moscow Office of Debevoise & Plimpton (1997-2001).
President of Youth for Eisenhower 1951-1952 (later merged into Citizens for Eisenhower), Chair of the NY Young Republicans Club 1953, Assistant Counsel to Senate Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce (the “Kefauver Committee”) 1953, General Counsel to NYS Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller 1958-1959, Head of the Domestic Policy Platform for Rockefeller’s proposed run for the 1964 Republican Presidential nomination, Association of the Bar of the City of NY Chair of the Special Committee on the Federal Conflict of Interest Laws, Director & Secretary of the NY Urban Coalition 1967, Co-Chair of the National Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law 1973-1975.
President of the American Law Institute (ALI) 1980-1993 and Chair of ALI Council 1993-2008.
President of the Harvard Alumni Association 1970-1971, President of the Harvard Club of NYC 1975-1977.
First President of the Board of the School of American Ballet 1975-1980.
Past Trustee of Pomfret and Brearley Schools, Salzburg Global Seminar, and the Commonwealth Fund. Past Director of Fiduciary Trust Co. Int’l and of Bowery Savings Bank. Resident of Manhattan, summers as 11th generation in Little Compton, Rhode Island, Horsehead Island in midcoast Maine (1976-2009) and Quogue, New York (2008-2019). Tennis and sailing and 6 Newport to Bermuda races.
Predeceased by his late wife, Joan Titcomb Perkins and his brother, Paul F. Perkins, he is survived by his wife, Susan Harfield Perkins, his children, Roswell B. Perkins Jr (Marian), Laura Perkins (Gary Waldron) and Nancy Perkins; his grandchildren Renny and Samantha (Brian Doyle) Waldron, James and Christie (Bernardo Langer) Perkins, great-grandson, Russell Doyle; stepchildren, Amanda Leness (Keith Gubbin), Susan Leness Gilbert and Tony Leness (Katharine) and step-grandchildren, Jack Gubbin, Max, Eliza and Olivia Gilbert, Lucy, George and Ogden Leness, sister in law Mary Perkins, nieces Zizi LaCava (John), Bettina Mueller (Ken McCarthy), Augusta Perkins Stanislaw (Joseph), nephews Paul (Nancy) and Warren Perkins (Nancy) and their families.