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Our beloved husband, father, and grandfather completed his life journey surrounded by his family on November 26th, 2011. The youngest of three brothers and a sister, Joe was born in Kinney, Minnesota on April 4th, 1922, to Fred and Estelle Akins. He was five when his mother died. At the time, his father was working out of state, which resulted in the younger children being placed in an orphanage for two years. The family subsequently moved to Ely, Minnesota, where Joe lived with his older brother, Herb, eventually moving to the Juhala Boarding House, a residence he maintained until graduation from high school. During this time, Joe supported himself by doing odd jobs, eventually working with an Indian guide, taking tourists and fishermen into the Wilderness Area north of Ely. During these high; school years, he became an accomplished swimmer, setting state records in the backstroke and 200 yard relay.
Following graduation in 1940, Joe traveled to Spokane and enrolled in a prelaw curriculum at Gonzaga University. A call from the military interrupted his education in 1942. Joe was sent to the European theater, advancing across France with Patton's 3rd Armored Division. He was seriously wounded during the Battle of the Bulge. Sgt. Akins demonstrated leadership and heroism in his platoon, saving several lives, with many acts of bravery documented. He was awarded several medals, including a Purple Heart. The Silver Star was pending at the time of his death.
Following discharge, Joe returned to the state of Washington, eventually earning a BA degree in Business Administration from Gonzaga University in 1946. While continuing his law school studies, he began a 35 year career in banking, beginning with Seattle First National Bank, where he worked for 20 years. From the late sixties through mid eighties, Joe developed an expertise and reputation in commercial loans with American Commercial, Washington Trust, and First Interstate Banks. During this time, he was active in a number of service organizations, including the Elks, Moose, Rotary, and Kiwanis.
In 1943, Joe married Eunice Burton of Wenatchee. Four sons were born to this union, with the family settling in North Spokane. During these early years, Joe was an involved father, participating in his boy's scouting activities, fishing, and hunting ventures, and church events. Vacations were spent at Priest Lake, where Joe and his boys built a cabin on Pinto Bay, spending many great summers and creating a lot of cherished memories. Those early traditions established and love for Priest Lake continues for the family to this day. During this time, our cousin, John Akins from Minnesota was added to our family, which was the beginning of Joe arranging for a number of relatives to move from Minnesota to Washington, where he assisted them with their education and careers.
Following Joe and Eunice's divorce, he met and married the love of his life, Marilyn Mosgar. Marilyn and her daughter, Dana, became a part of the family with the subsequent years consisting of many memorable family get-togethers. Marilyn and Joe's commitment and love for each other was especially apparent during the past four years when they shared many health and care issues. Marilyn's loving care for Joe during this difficult time was exemplary and an inspiration to family and friends. Marilyn, the family thanks you.
Joe enjoyed fishing for trout and Walleye, hunting ducks and pheasants, and boating. He was an accomplished bowler and "respectable" golfer. During his retirement years, he loved to cut wood and was a passionate Cribbage player. He looked forward to coffee and breakfast with his boys and trips to the casino. Last year, Joe, and his son, John, traveled to Washington DC on the Honor Flight to visit the World War" and Vietnam memorials. It was a moving experience for both.
Joe is survived by his wife of 41 years Marilyn, his brother Donald, along with his sons; Joseph (Sharon), John (Cathy), Pat (Teri), his daughter Dana (Mike), and his nephew John (Leslie). He leaves behind ten grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews. Joe was preceded in death by his son Rich, his brothers Herb and John, and his sister Helen.
A celebration of Joe's life, with full military honors, will be held Saturday, December 10th, 2011, at 11:00 am at Heritage Funeral Home, with inurnment to follow. In lieu of flowers, it is suggested that donations be made to the Inland Northwest Honor Flight, 608 West 2nd, Suite 309, Spokane, 99201.
Published in Spokesman-Review from Dec. 4 to Dec. 5, 2011