On May 7 the sporting world said goodbye to a legend. After a period of declining health, Leigh Haskell Perkins passed away at his home in the longleaf pine country of North Florida. He was 93.
The man affectionately known as LHP has been lauded for his business acumen—notably for his work growing The Orvis Company, a small Vermont fishing tackle manufacturer that he bought in 1965, into a definitive international brand. He took great pride in the success of this business, but his greater personal satisfaction likely was found in the untold hours he spent in the uplands and wetlands with a Model 21 or stalking riverbanks and white-sand ocean flats with a fly rod. Even into his 90s, LHP managed 250 days a year fishing and hunting.
Perkins firmly believed in the value of tradition, both in life and in business. His love for the outdoors was handed down by his mother, Katharine Perkins, who was a noted game shot and angler. LHP was driven to pass his passions for fishing, hunting, dogs and conservation to his children. His sons—Leigh H. “Perk” Perkins Jr. and David—made Orvis their lives’ work. When Leigh retired in 1992, Perk became president and CEO and Dave worked alongside him as Vice Chairman. Today the company is run by Perk’s son, Simon, while Simon’s brother, Charley, and his cousin, Hannah, also hold positions in the business.
LHP is survived by his wife, Anne, four children, 11 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. A lifelong conservationist and particularly avid quail hunter, Perkins was a longstanding supporter of Tall Timbers Research Station & Land Conservancy, in Florida. The Perkins Family asks that those who wish to contribute in memory of LHP send gifts of support by visiting his page at Tall Timbers.