Arthur Adkins, 90, of The Woodlands, Texas went off to heaven on October 10, 2011. He was born July 6, 1921 in Houston, Texas to the late Ollie and Annabell Adkins. He graduated from Lamar High School and was childhood friends with Jack Valenti and Marvin Zindler. In high school his passion was being on the newspaper staff, writing articles and being part of the advertising and promotion side.
While in high school he met his soul mate Zelda Hardin at a dance. While they were dating he attended and graduated from Rice Institute, where he pole vaulted on the track team.
He and his buddies were making plans to go to Canada so they could fight in World War II, since the United States was not involved. Pearl Harbor changed that and in joined the Army Air Corp. In later years it would be renamed a separate branch of the military and just called the Air Force.
Arthur and Zelda married before he went across seas and they would be apart for three years. They wrote many love letters that kept them close during this difficult time of war. He took tests and was told he would be a pilot and fly a C-47, a troop carrier. As lead navigator of the 439th Troop Carrier Division, Arthur was one of the first U.S. soldiers into the area of five major invasions, carrying parachute troops in ahead of ground forces on the invasions of Normandy, southern France, Italy, Holland and the breakthrough in the Rhineland. His was the first American plane to land in Norway, the day after the German surrender. While training in the States, Arthur acquired five pairs of wings, including those of pilot, navigator, aerial gunner, glider pilot and aerial observer.
When he returned home, they bought their first house with the gambling winnings he had sent Zelda. Her friends and family had no idea the money she saved as she never had a cent, but lived off the money she made as an assistant to a photographer. Nine months later they had their first child Sharon, then came Art, Gary and Bobby.
He was at Sears and Roebuck for 25 years, going from advertising and promotion manager to store manager until he retired and moved to Austin. He had gone from Houston to El Paso to Tulsa to Fort Worth then Odessa during his career at Sears.
He owned two businesses for many years, the House of Seat Covers/Car Care of Center at 10th and Lamar in Austin, and a Goodyear tire store. His oldest son, Art, managed the Goodyear store. Later after his kids had all graduated, Arthur and Zelda moved back to their hometown in Houston. He never stopped working, because he liked having a reason and purpose every day. He would be able to fill out crossword puzzles, tell old war stories and remained the smartest person in any room he was in.
Arthur was a lifetime member of the Rotary Club and an active member in the business community in Austin, as well as being a deacon at Hyde Park Baptist Church and later in the First Baptist Church of The Woodlands. The last few years he worked at Wal-mart and enjoyed meeting people and making new friends. He loved the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Longhorns and watching football with his family. The last few years he enjoyed going to The Woodlands High School football games with his son Gary.
Arthur is preceded in death by his wife of 60 years, Zelda Nell Adkins. He is survived by his second wife Lucy Adkins; daughter Sharon Castro and husband Jack; sons Art Adkins III and wife Denel, Gary Adkins and wife Sharon, Bobby Adkins and wife Gloria; grandchildren Angela and John Alvarez, Daniel Estrada, Deborah and Dan Shafer, Bryan and Jessica Adkins, Blair and Kim Adkins, Erin and Brian Henderson, Morgan and Marcel Uriarte, Darla and Jerry Louviere, Jonathan Adkins, Sierra Adkins and Pierce Adkins; great grandchildren Ashton Adkins, Lauren Alvarez, Drew Shafer, Logan Shafer, Jackson Shafer, Ehren Adkins, Lillian Louviere, Londyn Louviere, Lacee Louviere, Aiden Adkins, Reece Alvarez, Bennett Louviere, Emma Kappmeyer, Ethan Kappmeyer, Noah Henderson, Maci Henderson, Anderson Adkins, Logan Louviere, Eve Kappmeyer and Lindsey Louviere, Jett Estrada, Isaiah Adkins.
A celebration of Arthur's life is set for 1:00 P.M., Saturday, October 15, 2011 at the First Baptist Church of The Woodlands, 11801 Grogans Mill, The Woodlands, Texas 77380.
To sign the register book, or to offer your memories of Arthur to the family, please visit www.forestparkthewoodlands.com.