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PERKINS, ROBERT KENNETH

PERKINS, ROBERT KENNETH

PERKINS, ROBERT KENNETH (ca. 1936-11 Jan. 1993) was the founder of PERKINS SCHOOL OF PIANO TUNING AND TECHNOLOGY, the only such institution in Ohio and one of only about a handful of its kind in the United States.

Born in Clarksburg, W.Va. to Frank and Irene (Lawman) Perkins, Robert grew up on a small farm. As a youth he took voice lessons and sang in operas. (He never played the piano). After a brief career with the Clarksburg Opera Guild, Perkins moved to Cleveland in 1960 and joined his brother in the piano-moving business. In 1961 he started Bob's Piano Co. on Lorain Ave., providing tuning and off-site renovations.

The Perkins School opened in Cleveland in 1962 in the old Cleveland Trust building on Lorain and W. 98th St. Perkins started his school when a blind person asked him to teach him piano tuning and repair. Shunning anything technical, Perkins preferred to tune a piano by ear. He taught students how to tune and how to completely take apart and put together a piano. The school attracted 500-600 students for the year-long program. Perkins moved the school to Elyria in 1977.

Perkins had a daughter, Theresa JoAnna, by his first marriage to Angela LaCaria. Robert and Angela were married in 1955, and divorced in 1982. Robert married Dora Massaro in 1985 and had a stepdaughter, Cheryl Ryder. Perkins was a Methodist, and is buried in Bridgeport, West Virginia. His school closed with his death.