Classic car collector revs up Medina County history lesson

MEDINA, Ohio — Curtis Perkins holds the key to a lot of Medina history — and to a number of classic cars.

On June 10, 60 members of the Medina County Historical Society met at Perkins’ Lafayette Road property to hear the retired businessman talk about the triumphs and tragedies of his life and to view his amazing collection of restored classic automobiles.

After an opportunity to walk about the property, to see the wonderful old cars and to eat homemade ice cream with lots of yummy toppings, the crowd moved into the barn to sit and listen to Perkins talk about his life.

Curtis Perkins at the podium

Medina resident Curtis Perkins talks about his life and his classic car collection during a members-only meeting of the Medina County Historical Society.Mary Jane Brewer, special to cleveland.com

Brian Feron, president of the historical society, welcomed the crowd and thanked Perkins for sharing his cars and his story.

Perkins was born in Medina in 1954 when Medina Hospital was an old house. He lived on Bronson Street until his family moved to Berea in 1965, where he graduated from high school.

He returned to Medina shortly after graduation in 1973 and moved into a rental house on South Court Street with his future wife and her 2-month-old daughter.

The neighbors held a meeting to ask the landlord to evict the young mixed-race couple — Perkins is Black — but the landlord refused.

1940 Packard car

Curtis Perkins bought this 1940 Packard for his late wife, Patricia.Mary Jane Brewer, special to cleveland.com

Perkins began operating his uncle Clarence Martin’s trash-hauling business with its two trucks. He purchased the company in 1984 and ran it until two years ago, when he sold it to Rumke Waste Services.

At the time of the sale, the business operated in five counties, with 29 trucks and 21 employees.

Perkins and his family lived next door to the business for 38 years.

In 2021, tragedy struck when he lost his son Drew in February in an auto accident, his daughter Tricia Perkins-Roberts to leukemia in May and his wife, Patricia, to illness on June 19 — Juneteenth.

1953 yellow and black taxicab

A 1953 Henry J Corsair yellow and black taxicab illustrates Perkins’ sense of humor: On the side is painted “Perkins Classic Car Addiction — ALL STAR — TAXI — not for hire.”Mary Jane Brewer, special to cleveland.com

Despite these devastating losses, Perkins stays active with friends, travel and his car collection.

He spoke about the cars, each of which has a story behind it.

After one car purchase, his wife told him, “You won’t buy another vehicle until we redo the kitchen.”

He complied.

His first car was a blue 1966 Mustang. But his personal favorite is a snazzy old two-tone Lincoln with an actual trunk attached to the back fender.

His wife wanted a particular 1940 Packard; he bought it for her and, after her death, he added a tribute to her memory on the rear window.

It states: In Memory of Patricia L Perkins — 4/28/1953-6/19/2021.

A 1953 Henry J Corsair yellow and black taxicab illustrates Perkins’ sense of humor: On the side is painted “Perkins Classic Car Addiction — ALL STAR — TAXI — not for hire.”

For information about future Medina County Historical Society events, check out www.medinacountyhistoricalsociety.com.

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