Betty Kay Jolly Perkinson

Published 5:45 pm Monday, December 28, 2020

Dr. Betty Kay Jolly Perkinson “Kitty” went to be with her Lord on Dec. 24, 2020. She was the daughter of the late Ethel Mae and Joseph Jolly and was preceded in death by her brother Jody Jolly.

Kitty was a former member of Delta Kappa Gamma, Churchland Rotary Club, and Pilot Club of Portsmouth. She was a member of St. Andrew Presbyterian Church and of the Turtle Group. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in English from East Carolina University, a Master in Developmental Studies from Old Dominion University, and her Ph.D. from George Mason University. Kitty taught in the Portsmouth Public Schools, Frederick Military Academy, Tidewater Community College, and was a visiting professor at Charles University and American University, both in Prague, Czech Republic. Kitty was a published playwright and author. Following her retirement from Tidewater Community College, she was awarded professor emeritus status.

She loved to learn, teach, read and write. She also enjoyed traveling, socializing, making new friends, dancing, skiing and providing words of wisdom.


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Kitty was a loving wife, mother, Mimi, sister, aunt and friend. She is survived by her husband, James Perkinson; three children, Caroline Lewis and husband, Robert, of Nashville, N.C., Christina Thornburg and husband, Hank, of Chesapeake, and James Earl Perkinson III and fiancé, Melanie, of Portsmouth; nine grandchildren, Eric Day (Leah), Emily-Kaye Day, Cara Lewis, Robert Lewis, Abbey-Mae Lewis, Henry Thornburg IV, Katherine Thornburg, Ashlyn Reed Perkinson and Jaida Elizabeth Perkinson; mother-in-law, Billie Perkinson; sister, Lydia Jolly Morgan (Jack); and sisters-in-law Brenda Jolly, JoAnn Perkinson Daniels (Jerry), and Sandy Perkinson.

A private service will be held at Baker-Foster Funeral Home, 5685 Lee Farm Lane, with inurnment following at Meadowbrook Memorial Gardens. Kitty will be available for viewing in the funeral home from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 30, with the family receiving friends from 6:30 to 8 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Condolences may be registered at