Shirley Akins



Shirley Ruth Akins, beloved wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother, passed away in her home in Merced, Calif., on Jan. 22, 2019.

She is survived by her husband of almost 65 years, James L. Akins; children, Terry Walker of Livermore, Calif., Michael Akins of Merced, and Leslie Hummel of Mariposa; grandchildren, Alisha Beckham (Lance) of Spanish Fork, Utah, Derek Walker (Amy) of Livermore, Christopher Walker of Livermore, Colin Walker of Livermore, and Ian Whitaker, currently residing in the Ukraine with the Peace Corps; six great grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Harvey and Catherine Morrell; brother, Harvey Morrell, Jr.; granddaughter, Paige Whitaker; and two sons-in-law, Jon Hummel and Doug Walker.

Shirley was born in Matawan, N.J. on June 22, 1929. She was raised and educated there, and after graduating from high school, started a career as a florist. She often spoke of working at a florist shop in Princeton, N.J., and seeing Albert Einstein riding his bicycle around the town during his tenure there.

In 1953, she met a young serviceman stationed at Fort Monmouth, N.J., named Corporal James Akins and, after a short courtship, married him on June 5, 1954.

Jim, a California native, and Shirley moved to Merced after Jim was discharged from the Army in 1955. Shirley was so happy to leave the snow and cold weather of New Jersey behind, she vowed never to live in snow again, a vow she was happily able to keep.

They added a daughter, Terry, in 1955; a son, Michael, in 1956, and another daughter, Leslie, in 1960.

Her faith was very important to her and she served as secretary to the pastor at the United Methodist Church on Yosemite Parkway in the 1960s. She also served as Sunday School Superintendent during those years. Eventually she landed at Yosemite Church, where she volunteered for Celebrate Recovery and participated in Bible studies.

Shirley worked as an escrow officer at State Savings, Trans-County Title and Fidelity Title during her financial career. She was much sought after in her work and her clientele tended to follow her to whichever company she worked for. Her retirement enabled her to attend Bible studies, travel to her beloved Disneyland with her family as much as possible, and visit her extended family whenever she could.

Shirley loved people. There were no strangers to her… just friends she hadn’t met yet. It wasn’t unusual for her to disappear at social events if she saw someone with a Dodger jacket on. Her family many times had to find her in restaurants, usually discovering her chatting with a total stranger, with that loved Dodger emblem somewhere on their person. She followed the Dodgers while she lived in New Jersey during their Brooklyn days and continued to be a faithful Dodger fan through their Los Angeles days. She was Dodger blue through and through.

She also loved music and enjoyed the worship services at church. She loved Billy Ray Cyrus and “Achy Breaky Heart” was her favorite song. She loved flowers and enjoyed gardening. Her home was always open and one of her great joys was holding a Christmas Eve dinner that family and friends looked forward to every year.

Shirley was a faithful Christ-follower and passed her faith on to her children and grandchildren. She was loved dearly by her family and friends and will be sorely missed.

A Celebration of Life service will he held at Yosemite Church on March 23, 2019 at 10 a.m. with a dessert reception immediately following.

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