Gayle Flowers Akins went home to Jesus on June 5, 2013. She was born in Birmingham, Ala., on April 29, 1948, to Mr. Jan and Mrs. Hayden Filip. As a child, the family moved frequently, spending time in Monterrey, Mexico, New York City, New Jersey, Montreal, Canada, and finally settling in Mexico City. Gayle attended The American School, where she became fluent in Spanish. The family moved back to Birmingham when Gayle was 16, and she graduated from Hewitt-Trussville High School in 1966. She attended the University of Montevallo, graduating in 1970 with a double major in English and Education. Gayle married Andy Flowers the same year and they moved to Fort Walton Beach, Fla., in 1972, where they were lovingly taken care of by the members of First Baptist Church. Career choices took them to Germany, Arizona, and Virginia before she returned permanently to Fort Walton Beach in 1996. She married her loving and faithful husband Stan Akins in March of 2008.
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Gayle was a woman of many talents and interests. She loved reading, cooking, crafting, garage sales, Braves baseball, photography, cake decorating, and painting. She also lived a life of service to her Lord Jesus Christ, sharing her faith by teaching Sunday School and participating in a singles group and Bible studies. She was actively involved in many ministries at various churches in the area. Gayle is survived by her husband and best friend, Stan; two daughters, Holly Riches (James) of Fort Walton Beach, and Summer Sharp (Shawn) of Valdosta, Ga.; sister, Jana Didrickson of Port Angeles, Wash.; and eight grandchildren that she adored with her whole being. Gayle also had countless life long friends with whom she enjoyed sharing life and laughter. In lieu of flowers, Gayle has asked that donations be made to the Beachside Community Church Building Fund at www.beachsidecc.org. A celebration of her life will be held at Shalimar United Methodist Church on Monday, June 10, at 2 p.m.
Published Online in Northwest Florida Daily News on June 7, 2013