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William C. (Bill) AKERS

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William C. (Bill) AKERS Obituary

News Death Notice

AKERS, William C. "Bill" 88, died peacefully at his home in Boca Raton, Florida on October 13, 2013, with his wife of 64 years, Mary, at his side. He was one month shy of celebrating his 89th birthday. Son of James Scott Akers and Esther Whitt Akers, he was born in Ironton, Ohio on November 18, 1924, the sixth of ten children in a family of very modest means. His father died when Bill was ten years old. From the age of eight, Bill worked various jobs from delivering newspapers and selling magazines to setting pins in a bowling alley. He was a short-order cook and washed dishes at a local restaurant - anything to help his poverty-stricken family survive the Great Depression. He attended public schools, graduating from Ironton High School in June 1943 as the Valedictorian of "Shop Class." Bill proudly served his country as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps from 1943 - 1945. He was assigned to the Southwest Pacific during World War II with the 5th Amphibious Corp. In advance of an island invasion, he was dropped behind enemy lines to survey enemy gun positions and remained hidden in place to function as a forward observer during the island beach assault. After being discharged, Bill moved to Middletown, Ohio where he worked nights as a laborer at Armco Steel while attending Miami University School of Arts & Sciences from 1946 to 1949. He then married his devoted companion, Mary E. Smith on August 27, 1949. He completed his college education with 8 years of night school, taking business courses at University of Dayton. Bill earned Advanced Management Degrees from Purdue University's Krannert School of Management and from the Harvard Business School. He started his distinguished career in the packaging business at Inland Container Corporation in Middletown, Ohio, in 1949. At the age of 39, he resigned as Sales Manager of Inland Container Corporation to start his own company, Akers Packaging Service, Inc. on October 7, 1963. With Bill's vision, leadership and single-minded dedication to customers, Akers Packaging has grown to be named a "Greater Cincinnati Top 100" privately owned business and is a leading independent corrugated packaging company in the United States. Based in Middletown, Ohio, the Akers Packaging Service Group has 8 converting plants located in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. Bill had numerous investments outside of Akers Packaging, including The Crystal Tissue Company, Crystal Creative Products and Saratoga Board Mills. With business partner, Perry Thatcher, he owned Ample Industries and the historic Manchester Inn in Middletown, Ohio. He was also an investor in various real estate ventures and the Shaker Run Golf Course. Active in community service, Bill served on the Board of Directors of: The Mid Miami Valley Chamber of Commerce; The Middletown United Way; The Middletown Rotary Club; Middletown Junior Achievement; Middletown YMCA; Middletown Regional Hospital; Bank One of Middletown, Ohio; The Fibre Box Association, Chicago, Illinois; and The Association of Independent Corrugated Converters (AICC) Washington, D.C. He was a founding member of the International Corrugated Paper Foundation and the Middletown Community Foundation. In addition to being an active member of the Board of Directors, Bill served as the President of The Association of Independent Corrugated Converters (AICC), The Middletown Rotary Club, The Middletown YMCA, and Middletown Area Chamber of Commerce. Recognized as a distinguished leader in his industry, he was named to the Association of Independent Corrugated Converters Hall of Fame in 1989 and twelve years later he became the thirteenth inductee into the International Corrugated Packaging Foundation's Circle of Distinguished Leaders. In 1991, Bill was honored as the recipient of the Community Service Award from the American Legion. Also in 1991, Bill and Mary Co-Chaired a successful Capital Campaign for Miami University - Middletown and endowed the William C. and Mary E. Akers Scholarship. In 2002, Bill and Mary facilitated the creation of the new Bishop Fenwick High School in Middletown, OH with their gifts of land and cash. Bill and Mary loved travelling and spending time with their extended family. They generously treated the entire family to trips throughout the world. These provided cherished memories that they reflected on frequently. The couple spent their later years in Boca Raton, Ohio. Bill enjoyed movies and was an avid reader of books, newspapers and periodicals, closely following current events. He was a life-long season ticket holder of the Cincinnati Reds, Cincinnati Bengals and Miami University Football. Bill will always be remembered for his hard work ethic, gregarious personality, warm infectious smile and the twinkle in his eyes. He was known and admired for his honesty and integrity.

Published in Journal-News on Oct. 16, 2013
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