Cover photo for Ellen"Perk" L. English's Obituary
Ellen"Perk" L. English Profile Photo
1937 Ellen"Perk" 2021

Ellen"Perk" L. English

December 6, 1937 — March 9, 2021

Ellen Lauree English was born on the family farm, North of Cozad, Nebraska during the winter of 1937 to Lawrence and Martha Stinehagen with two older sisters Marilyn and Shirley then later Jim a baby brother. The nickname “Perk” which everyone knew her by, was given to her early in life for her perky, exuberant dancing, almost out of her diaper, to a big band song with “perk a doddle daddle 1 2 3” chorus. The Christian values of her family and duties of farm life were the foundation of her devotion to serving others and work ethic which combined with her unique sense of glamorous style are the traits she may be most remembered for.

Perk attended country school in Custer County with all grade levels in one classroom. She attended Cozad High School, graduating class of 1955, where she was an active participant in sports, band as a majorette, and thespian. Upon graduation, she studied at University of Nebraska – Kearney and began teaching school while waiting for her high school sweetheart to return from serving in the army.

In the early 1960’s, Perk moved to Harlingen, Texas with her 1st husband. They joined Wesley United Methodist Church where she was a devoted member in service and leadership, always grateful for her church family and smiled as she spoke of project partners like Frank and Mickey. She was active in Rotary as a Paul Harris Fellow, the Salvation Army Advisory Board serving as Chairman for many years, and Loaves and Fishes. She had the city manager’s email and number on speed dial and was respected for having a true concern for the community.

By the mid 1960’s, she divorced but persisted and thrived as a single mother focusing on her professional development as an insurance agent. She served as President of Cameron County Insurance Women of Harlingen and was elected as Texas State Treasurer of the Federation of Insurance Women. She shared stories of gratitude for the supportive community and mentors like Mr. Paul Carruth that helped her develop into a dynamic businesswoman who became a mentor to many others who worked with her in business, through the high school VOE program and on community projects.

In 1973, Perk married W.R. “Billy Bob” English. They were a dynamic pair and complimented each other. He gave her the encouragement to start her own agency Trans Gulf Insurance in partnership with Joe Villarreal where she enjoyed a unique niche insuring the Gulf Coast shrimpers as clients. The agency transitioned to English Insurance Agency and grew dramatically with the purchase of Head and Lee Insurance Agency. She was one of the first to embrace software/computer technology (the printer was large and on rails) always focused on details and efficiency with enthusiasm for being out and about in front of clients. Upon the sale of the agency, Perk retained her book of business insuring shrimpers with partner David Caddell at English Marine Agency and began working with her husband at F&E Auto Sales. She loved the interaction and knew everyone, making her excellent at customer service. One of her favorite drives the last years of her life, was along the Port Isabel shrimp docks and visits to F&E to visit with previous employees.

Perk was always on the move with her talents for problem solving, organizing, beautifying her community, and interacting with people, never hesitating to go the extra mile for people from all walks of life. Perk was the “go to person” when something needed to get done and could move a mountain when faced with a challenge. She focused on the solutions not the problems, always moving forward. She was a spirited woman of action and inspiration to others.

Life changed in November of 2017 when Perk had her first stroke which was a shock as she was a slave to good habits and discipline with her health. Till her death, she was on the move every day in her minivan accompanied by her caregivers. It is with gratitude that the family thanks her caregivers Rose, Mimi, Maria, Jennifer, and Frances (Team Perk) for her quality care. They made sure she was safe, glamorous, and fashionably dressed. We thank Sandra, Karla, Hugo, Warren, Minnie, and Alex for all their extra care of her personal world. Perk’s attention to the details, organization, beauty, and desire to be on the move were always intact.

Perk was preceded in death by her husband W.R. “Billy Bob” English, her parents Lawrence and Martha Stinehagen, brother Jim Stinehagen, and brother in-laws Herman Hinkle, Mike Wright, and sister-in-law Joann Wright.

She is survived by her sisters Marilyn McNeal (Leigh) and Shirley Hinkle; son David Herrington (Tara), daughter Julie Herrington and stepson Alan English (Tracy); grandchildren: Vivian English (Gabe Lopez) and Lee Herrington.  Also surviving are her grandchildren through marriages: Rick Alsup, Crafton and Desiree Raymond; Texas niece and nephews:  Libby Elrod, Clint Wright, and Dee Wright; Nebraska Family: nieces & nephews Pam, Amy, Todd, Janna, Jolynn, Kirk, Leigh Ann, Lynsey, and Catherine along with sister-in-laws Crystal and Barbara.  Also included as family in her heart are Eddie Chapa and his family as well as Mickey Graham and her family, all in Texas.

Although divorced, she maintained a respectful and caring relationship with her 1st husband Dean Herrington, his wife Mary and their children Pam, Tricia, Joy, Joe, and Deana as well as sister-in-law Carolyn, nieces Gayla and Debbie. All welcomed her home in Nebraska as part of the family.

Perk was not one for being the center of attention but most comfortable providing the momentum to get things done and make a difference in other’s lives. The greatest gift of appreciation to celebrate her life would be to fire up your lawnmowers, trimmers and add some landscaping to make Harlingen the most beautiful city in the RGV.

In memory of Perk, please devote your time, talents, and gifts to a charity of your choice or a contribution in support of children and families to Wesley United Methodist (WUMC) at 1406 E. Austin St. Harlingen, TX 78550, WUMC Preschool, Care Cottage or Blue Sunday c/o WUMC, The Salvation Army, 201 E. Monroe Ave., Harlingen, TX 78550, Children’s Bereavement Center, 2302 S. 77 Sunshine Strip, Suite 202, Harlingen, TX 78550.

A memorial service will be held at 10:00am on Saturday, May 15, 2021 at Wesley United Methodist Church, 1406 E Austin Ave in Harlingen. Please wear your mask as we practice safe social distancing.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ellen"Perk" L. English, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

Wesley United Methodist Church

1406 East Austin Avenue, Harlingen, TX 78550

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