Amelia Alice “Perk” Dinsmore was born August 3, 1914 in a log cabin built by her father and uncle in Saskatchewan, Canada where parents Eli and Sally Perkins had immigrated from England to homestead. School was a three-mile walk or mule ride away and Perk remembered frigid winters. In 1923, the family returned from church to find their farm on fire, prompting her parents to move with Perk and her two siblings to Chicago and later to Harvey, Illinois where her father resumed his original trade as a bricklayer. Perk worked her way through college, graduating from Northern Illinois Teachers College in 1937, and taught school until marriage to Lee Dinsmore in 1940.
The Dinsmore family traveled to the Middle East, where Lee first served with the International YMCA and later with the US State Department as a Foreign Service Officer. Assignments took them to Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia, and Italy and they journeyed to other countries in the Near East and Europe. Residence abroad was interspersed with Washington DC tours of duty. Perk became an avid archeology buff, deeply interested in local culture and customs. She was a beloved hostess who reached out to people wherever she lived. Numerous guests included local folks and dignitaries, archeologists, artists, Congressmen and a US Supreme Court Justice. Throughout her life, Perk remained in touch with a legion of devoted friends from many countries.
When Lee retired in 1973, the couple returned to the US to make their home in Post Lake near Lee’s parents. Always an activist, Perk became involved in school and health issues and was instrumental in establishing Elcho’s Aspirus Health Clinic. She was a keen supporter of the Post Lake Improvement Association, a member of education, historical, environmental, and political groups and remained a passionate supporter of national and international social justice and peace efforts. Her commitment to nonviolence, human rights, and equality was a model to her children, grandchildren and others, who have expressed eloquent appreciation of her in a flood of letters.
Perk is survived by her husband, Lee Dinsmore, daughters Janet (FT Clark) and Sally Dinsmore, grandchildren Scott Alwin (Yvette Shields), Sam Lohr (Debby Lohr), Lee Lohr, Sarah Shoenfeld (Steve Longenecker), Kirsten Lohr (Jeff Hillick), Nicholas Charlesworth, and great grandchildren Ruthie and Ammon Longenecker, Celia and Ian Lohr, Wesley Alwin, Kaelyn and Grant Hillick, and nieces Nancy Carter and Wendy Cox. The family will hold a memorial service at a later date in Elcho, Wisconsin. A notice will be posted in the Antigo Journal regarding the service’s time and place. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to Antigo Community Food Pantry, PO Box 194, Antigo, WI 54409.