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Mary Alice (Swann) Perkins

July 29, 1944 ~ June 19, 2019 (age 74)

Mary Alice Swann Perkins, age 74 of 44 Hickorydale Ln., Sanford, NC passed on Wednesday, June 18, 2019 at her residence. 

On Wednesday,  June 19, 2019, God in His infinite wisdom and divine love released our beloved, Mary Alice Perkins, from all earthly limitations and  granted her everlasting peace and serenity.  She was born to the late James O. and Alfreda Swann on July 29, 1944 in Sanford, North Carolina. 

In 1963, she graduated from Johnsonville High School and later attended Fayetteville State University and Sandhills College.  Mary worked several jobs, including holding employment at Federal Spinning in Sanford and at the Nursery in Spring Lake, North Carolina where she pursued one of her great passions; caring for children.  Her career path then led her to serve as a Librarian at Johnsonville Elementary School in the Harnett County school system for many years.  Mary had vision, and transformed the elementary school library into such a creative space for learning that the Director who oversaw  all the libraries in the county school system requested they ALL be patterned after the one she’d put into place at Johnsonville Elementary. 

Ultimately, Mary Perkins became a legendary supervisor at Coty, Inc. She was employed there for over twenty-five years.  It was there that she earned the affectionate title, “Slave Driver,” given to her by her beloved “Gift Sets” Crew.  The crew understood Mary's mindset and concept of “hard work and   helping others,” because such effort yields great results. As a result of her creativity and drive, she was entrusted with responsibilities far beyond that of a regular supervisor.  At times, she would manage over 300 employees per shift.  She was creative and clever and created positions within the company that allowed work to be done more effectively and efficiently.  The creation of the positions of line operators to operate assembly lines and material handlers to personally deal with materials needed was initiated by Mary. In like fashion,  machine operator positions were developed to not only operate the machines, but learn the mechanics of them in an effort to avoid delays when repairs were required. The positions she created were all part of her goal-oriented plan designed to meet the demanding production goals of a growing company that  had very little existing structure in place at the time. Mary Perkins’ vision was well received by management and ultimately used as a blueprint to build the infrastructure of the company. Some might say the company name could very well be Mary Perkins, Inc. instead of Coty, Inc.  She made many lifelong friends there, and loved her Coty Family dearly. 

Mary was a servant who loved her family and friends and put others before herself on many occasions. Immediately after her first surgery, she declined  morphine for pain and told her treating doctors and nurses she needed to leave the hospital because she had to get her great-nephew, EJ, off the school bus.  Years later, she took great pains to ensure all of her appointments and errands were completed well before 2pm, because she was either going to go pick up her great-niece, Hannah, from school or get her off the bus as well. She traveled to Charlotte three years ago to be at her daughter’s side when her beloved granddaughter, Claudia, was born. At every stage and turning point in her life, Mary Perkins believed in the service of others, and the importance of FAMILY FIRST. Family gatherings occurred on a regular basis with many of them ending in a fight over who gets “Alice's Tea,” some of the best sweet tea anyone ever tasted.

She was a faithful member of Love Grove AME Zion Church and a woman of strong faith.

She was preceded in death by her parents, James O. and Alfreda Dean Swann and two brothers, Paul and James Odean Swann.

She leaves to mourn her passing her beloved daughter, Dr. Eugenia “Bootsie” M. Perkins of Charlotte, North Carolina; granddaughter, Claudia “Ally” Alise Sanders; sister, Elaine McKoy (Edward); brother, Joe Swann (Brenda); sister-in-law, Shirley Swann and a host of nieces, nephews and friends. She was a mother, a grandmother, a sister, an aunt, and a friend. Her legacy will not be forgotten. 


Arrangements By: Knotts Funeral Home, Sanford

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