Perkins, who suffered from congenital heart disease, had been intubated and in intensive care since being in a serious single-car accident on Nov. 3 in San Miguel Canyon, between Placerville and Norwood, where she lived with her husband and business partner, Carter Smith.
Thrown from the vehicle, Perkins was found lying in the brush six hours after the accident. She suffered broken ribs, a fractured skull and fractured vertebrae in her neck, but had been expected to recover.
“She was doing well,” Smith, her husband and business partner, explained this week. “I was hoping she was going to do well enough to get out of the ICU and come home.
“But then she caught one of those bugs running around the hospital and got pneumonia, and she just couldn’t do it.”
She died from pneumonia due to Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, on Friday, Dec. 9, roughly two hours after deciding “to enter the status of [Do Not Resuscitate] and to be extubated,” San Miguel County Coroner Emil Sante reported this week.
Hopes ran high for Perkins’ recovery, until shortly before her death.
“Her color was great – she was getting so much oxygen,” said Mayor Stu Fraser, who, with his wife, Ginny, visited the intubated Perkins two days after her car accident.
“She encouraged me not to go into politics,” Fraser reminisced this week of his friend of nearly two decades. “She was so frank – that was what Ginny and I loved about her. Whatever came out of her mouth was something she believed in.
“Everything we did relating to mortgages over the last 20 years we did with [Perkins and Smith] helping us out, just liked they helped everybody out, with the refinancing and everything,” Fraser said, going on to describe business visits to The Mortgage Store as “one big hug-fest.”
Longtime Ski Ranches resident Peter Ingalls recalled how a business visit to The Mortgage Store led to his entering the family jeep in the Telluride July 4 Parade, at Perkins’ urging.
Upon hearing the theme would be Ingalls and his companion “going as ‘Telluride Over-80 Romeo and Juliet,’” he said, Perkins, declaring “that we needed a chaperone,” climbed in the backseat, cheering the float on to its second-place win.
“She loved motorcycles,” her husband said, back at his desk at The Mortgage Store Tuesday. “She was 51 when she learned how to ride, and we went on a number of around-the-country trips.
“You wouldn’t think that frail little body could do it, but she loved it so much.
“I go home and I look at her four motorcycles. She never fails to tell everyone, ‘I have four motorcycles, and Carter only has two.’ She always wants to make sure they know….”
Smith will continue to operate The Mortgage Store, and says to expect “business as usual,” thanks to pitching in from friends and colleagues in the community. “I’ve had people volunteering to come in and answer phones and stuff” since Perkins’ accident early last month, he said.
“We’re here to help, and hopefully to uphold the standards Ginger set for all of us.”
Perkins “did not want a funeral,” her husband said, and “because it is so close to the holidays, right now, the thinking is that a ‘Ginger Party’ will be held, sometime in January.
“It should be quite an event,” he added.
Perkins and Smith met in Bellingham, Wash., 21 years ago, and moved to San Miguel County soon thereafter.
In addition to Smith, and his children, Cameo Johnson and Clete Smith, and grandchildren, Perkins is survived by her mother, sister and brother.