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AKINS, Charmian Byers Gladly wolde she lerne, and gladly teche. - Chaucer Charmian Louise Byers Akins, 92, died unexpectedly on June 19, 2015 in Dallas, Texas. Her uncommon first name (after a Shakespearean character) foreshadowed her life as an individualistic, trailblazing poly-math. See Exhibit A, accompanying photograph. Born November 4, 1922, C endured a hard scrabble childhood in Denison, Texas, the daughter of a stalwart schoolmarm, sadly widowed by her mailman husband when C was just three years old. C became the de facto ward of her fawning older brothers, Win and Bo, who C revered and dearly loved. C's brilliant mother taught everything from calculus to English to Latin. Outstanding Girl Graduate at Denison High at age 16, C enrolled (second generation) at The University of Texas, assigned to the first-ever program for Plan II (big brained) students. After graduating with honors from U.T. during World War II, C attended Smith College for officer training, and was commissioned as an ensign in the U.S. Navy WAVES. C recounted, as a Department of Ordinance matériel statistician, using a slide rule to recommend safe distribution of ship payloads. In 1947 C married shy, likeable Jack, himself a fun-loving Renaissance man, and the couple settled in Dallas. An impeccable writer-editor, C became Dallas bureau correspondent for Women's Wear Daily. Soon, however, C sidetracked to rear her four passable children, Allison, Heidi, Kelly, and Casey. She and Jack moved to bucolic suburb Grand Prairie, where they built on N.W. 7th Street an ultra modern home based upon plans for an award winning, Wright-like design that C discovered in a magazine. Startled G.P. residents called it "the glass house" (it still stands). In the late 1950s, C returned to work as a junior high English teacher, rigorously suffusing her classes in grammar, syntax, and literature through her enthusing mien, witness C's receipt of laudatory letters from grateful students more than 50 years after she taught them. Still, despite working all day, C prepared and served wholesome, home-cooked suppers every night (even gourmet dishes such as cheese soufflés and vichyssoise) with all present and accounted for, or else. In the early 1960s, C became a certified language therapist through Scottish Rite Children's Hospital in a newly-created curriculum for tutoring dyslexic children. In the late 1970s, C was copy editor/writer for Texas Woman magazine, and, thereafter, managing editor of Texas Business, a role that yielded trips as an invited guest of Zimbabwe and Ireland to promote business with Texans. C was an editor's editor, freelancing for trade publications into her late 80s. She was a devoted Episcopalian, introducing the family to, respectively, St. Andrews in G.P., and, soon after its formation, Chapel of the Cross in Dallas. Generous with her time, C was a lifelong volunteer, from supporting victims of domestic violence (steeling them at the courthouse to testify against their abusers), to earning her ten-year pin for service at Scottish Rite, where she made so many fast, forever friends. Ever on the cutting edge, C performed strenuous Royal Canadian Air Force exercises rather than mimic Jack LaLanne; practiced Yoga (C was caught standing on her head by after-school playmates of her children, to the latter's chagrin); preached of antioxidants and free radicals way back when; worried about the environment, donating to conservation societies for as long as her children can remember; and, early on, proselytized about Woody Allen, whose humor she admired in The New Yorker. A voracious reader, C had an everlovin' desire to be well informed about science, politics, literature, sports, and popular culture. She was an accomplished bridge player, plowed through ponderous essays in Atlantic Monthly, and attended art-house movies weekly until just before her death. C had an ardent, cross-generational cadre of confreres and co-workers, disciples of her indomitable personality, astonishing intellect, and certain loyalty. After retiring from schoolteaching, she took up golf, playing obsessively and healthfully carrying her clubs. Imbued with a flair for the dramatic, C was distinguished by her self-styled hairdo, which featured not only a broad, bisecting streak of white, but also a unilateral, wind-swept prominence. Oh, my. Complete strangers commented upon her flawless complexion and signature Elizabeth Arden Pink Vibrations lipstick. Classically chic and stylish, of late C sported enormous white, Audrey Hepburn-style sunglasses. C was religious, adventurous, competitive, ebullient, and hilarious, her conversation peppered with ad-libs, puns, and bon mots. Consider C's annotation scribbled on an envelope (discovered postmortem) containing a mishmash of obit tidbits "Dead Man Talking". C's vocabulary was unmatched, double dog dare ya. C was exceedingly proud of her military service, and in her seniority associated with other women who also served during World War II. The family wishes to thank steadfast Alicia Hernandez for her years of contribution to C's overall wellbeing. C is pre-deceased by abiding Jack, constant Casey, and beloved brothers Bo and Win Byers, and is almost certainly pleased to be survived by daughters Allison Thorne, Heidi Mason and husband Mark, son Kelly Akins and wife Tina, all of Dallas, Texas, along with Allison's daughters Hilary Kline of Washington, D.C. and Gillian Thorne of Dallas, Kelly's son Wyatt of Dallas, Casey's wife Bobbi and son Kelly Lee of Pensacola, Florida and daughter Sandy Akins of Los Angeles, California, as well as a large extended family. In a private burial service, Charmian was laid to rest beside Jack, with Casey, a U.S. Navy lifer also in residence just over yonder, at DFW National Cemetery on June 23, 2015. If so inclined, please visit: www.sparkman-hillcrest.com to commemorate Charmian in the online guestbook. Memorials may be made to the Arthritis Foundation, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, or any preferred charity. Ave atque vale, Mother. Hail and farewell.
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ALLISON, Dolores Dolores Mlady Allison, age 86, of McKinney, Texas passed away July 1, 2015. Dolores was born August 5, 1928 in Chicago, Illinois to James and Anna (Steiber) Mlady. She married L.D. Allison Jr. on June 10, 2007 at Canyon Creek Presbyterian Church in Richardson, Texas. Dolores was a secretary with the Richardson ISD and a Realtor with Ebby Halliday Realtors. She enjoyed volunteering and was active in various community services, including Canyon Creek Presbyterian Church, Richardson Hospital, Habitat for Humanity, and the Hella Shrine.She is survived by her husband, L.D. Allison Jr. of McKinney, Texas; daughter, Gretchen Zeithammel of Las Vegas, Nevada; step-son, William Allison of Atlanta, Georgia; step-daughter Susan Allison of Richardson, Texas; step-brother Jim Staif and wife, Carol of McKinney, Texas; grandsons Mikkel Allison of Los Angeles, California and Martin Allison of Houston, Texas; nephew, Greg Staif and wife, Linda and great nephews Zac and Nic and great niece Mia of McKinney, Texas; and niece Stacy Winchester and husband, Sydney and great niece Cora and great nephew Everett of McKinney, Texas.She was preceded in death by her parents, previous husband, Adolph Zeithammel, and son, Kurt Zeithammel.In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to either Canyon Creek Presbyterian Church or the Accord Hospice Care of Dallas.Dolores, with her beautiful smile and bright blue eyes will always be missed.A memorial service will be held Monday, July 6, 2015 at 2:00 PM at the Canyon Creek Presbyterian Church in Richardson. A reception will follow in the church atrium.
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