Pastor Richard Eugene Akins, 76 of Appleton (and formerly of Jefferson and Watertown), WI was called home to meet his Savior on Friday, February 24, 2023, while resting at home.
Rich was born to parents, Aaron and Margaret (Maxine) Akins of Creve Coeur, IL on October 22, 1946, in Peoria, IL. Upon graduating from East Peoria Community High School with the class of 1964, Rich attended Illinois Community College in East Peoria and then Maranatha Baptist Bible College in Watertown, WI (now Maranatha Baptist University). He graduated in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education and then in 1993 with a Master of Science in Education (both from MBU). He was honored with a Doctor of Divinity degree by MBU in 2011.
Rich was the faithful husband to Michelle “Micki” Lynne Akins (formerly West) for 48 years. Micki was “his everything,” and he spoke often of not knowing what he would do without her and her loving, faithful care through many difficult years of stroke effects--loving and faithful care which continued right up to his last breath.
He was also the loving father to Luke (Raleigh, NC, married to Kayla), Molly (Willow Springs, NC, married to Aaron Strouse), Katie (Appleton, WI, married to Jason Tschida), and Daniel (Clinton, IA). Rich was blessed to be Papa to 12 grandchildren (Blake, Maddie, Brooke, Mackenzie, Bradley, Bree, Marcus, Titus, Max, Miles, Zeke, and Ivy) and served as Founder and Coordinator for the annual Oreo Party (complete with specially designed shirts and the “Oreo and Chocolate-Milk Party Pledge” they would all recite) and that he joyfully spearheaded for the grandkids every year.
Rich was also brother-in-law to Doug and Diane Hewison (Watertown, WI), Michael and Beth Martin (Dunedin, FL); and uncle to Doug (Sun Prairie, WI), Barry (Madison, WI), and Ben Hewison (Jefferson, WI), along with Brandi Martin Rabalais (Denton, Texas), Josh (Oklahoma City, OK) and Rob Akins (Madison, AL) and Sonja West (Atwater, CA).
He was preceded in death by his parents and his parents-in-law, Ernest and Edna West (Peoria, IL), along with his brother and sister-in-law, Donald and Carol Akins (Huntsville, AL), his nephew Bradley Akins (Huntsville, AL) and brother-in-law, Roger West (Houston, TX, survived by his wife, Valary West).
Rich served at MBU in many capacities from 1977 - 1997: Teacher, Assistant HS Principal, HS Principal, Football Coach (31 years from 1977 – 2008), College Athletic Director, Student Activities Director, and Recruiter. He was also privileged to serve as Senior Pastor to Calvary Baptist Church in Jefferson, WI for 22 years (1994 – 2016). Rich was honored to receive numerous awards and recognition throughout his tenure including MBU Alumnus of the Year, Coach of the Year (multiple times, including multiple Conference Championships), and was a member of the MBU Athletic Hall of Fame.
Rich especially loved speaking to how Christ’s sacrifice on the cross rescued his soul and changed his life back in 1971 (“I was a scoundrel!”), and then sharing that love of Christ in the classroom, in the locker room, on the football field, in the home, from the pulpit, and with anyone who would listen (including Telemarketers)! He loved to laugh, make others laugh, and used the outgoing personality God gave him to love and impact those he coached, pastored, taught, parented, served, and met.
A funeral service celebrating God’s grace in this man’s life will be held at 12:00 pm on Friday, March 3, 2023, at Calvary Baptist Church of Watertown, WI with the Rev. Dr. Robert J. Loggans presiding. Visitation will be on Thursday from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm and on Friday from 10:00 am until the time of the service at church. His earthly body will be laid to rest at Ebenezer Moravian Cemetery of Watertown following the funeral.
In addition to any flowers sent, memorial gifts may be made to Maranatha Baptist University.
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