Obituaries — 10/16/13Published 8:41am Wednesday, October 16, 2013
William C. “Bill” Akers, 88, died peacefully at his home in Boca Raton, Fla., on Oct. 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 on Nov. 18, 1924, the sixth of 10 children in a family of very modest means.
His father died when Bill was 10 years old. From the age of 8, 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, 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 Aug. 27, 1949.
He completed his college education with eight 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 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 Oct. 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, the Akers Packaging Service Group has eight 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. 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; The Fibre Box Association, Chicago, Ill.; 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 12 years later he became the 13th 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 with their gifts of land and cash.
Bill and Mary loved traveling 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, Fla.
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. He had great compassion for the less fortunate and exhibited limitless generosity. Employees liked that he was always approachable and willing to listen. He had a reputation for being “tough, but fair.”
Bill is survived by his beloved spouse of 64 years, Mary E. (Smith) Akers; four children, Marilyn (and Mike) Akey, of Chicago, Ill., James (and Jody) Akers, of Middletown, Sarah (and Grayson) FitzHugh, of Loveland, and Bill (and Debby) Akers, of Middletown; 16 grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren. Also surviving is his sister, Virginia (Ginny) Baker, of Cumming, Ga.
He was preceded in death by his son, Mark A. Akers.
Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Wilson-Schramm-Spaulding Funeral Home, 3805 Roosevelt Boulevard, Middletown. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Holy Trinity Church (Holy Family Parish) 201 Clark St., Middletown. Following the Mass, internment will take place at the Woodside Cemetery Mausoleum, 1401 Woodside Boulevard, Middletown.
A reception and celebration of Bill’s life will take place from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Brown’s Run Country Club, 6855 Sloebig Road., Middletown, (513) 423-9401.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials are sent to either The Middletown Community Foundation, 300 North Main St., Suite 300, Middletown, OH 45042 or to The Middletown Area Family YMCA, 1020 Manchester Ave., Middletown, OH 45042.
Sue (Edna Pearl Roush) Ball, 87, of Ironton, passed away Monday, Oct. 14, 2013, at Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital in Russell, Ky., surrounded by her family.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Ted and Mildred Furst Roush, and a brother, Eddie Roush, all of Addison. Sue was a graduate of Gallia Academy High School and Rio Grande College. She was a teacher for several school systems but retired in 1985 from the Ironton City Schools after 25 years.
Sue was a longtime member and Honorary Deaconess of First Baptist Church, member of Mary Martha Circle and involved in many affiliated church organizations and activities. Over the years she was a member of the Ironton Junior Women’s Club, Ironton Garden Club, Ironton Country Club 9 Holers, adviser for Lucky Stars 4-H Club and avid supporter of her daughter’s and grandchildren’s activities.
She is survived by her husband of 66 years, William (Bill) G. Ball; daughters, Cheryl (Derek) Kirpalani, Teresa (Terry) Parker, and Barbara (David) Thomas; a niece, Judy Lynn Griffis; grandchildren, Andrew Kirpalani, Bethany Kirpalani, Chad Parker, Jamie Parker, Kelsey Thomas and Craig Thomas; a great-granddaughter, Haiden Grace Thompson; and many other loving relatives and special friends.
Funeral service will be 11 a.m. Thursday at First Baptist Church in Ironton with Pastor Eric Barnes officiating. Burial will follow in Woodland Cemetery. Visitation will be today from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Tracy Brammer-Monroe Funeral Home and Thursday morning from 10 a.m. until the time of the service at the church.
Donations may be made to the First Baptist Church Faith and Fitness Center or a memorial donation to the church. To offer condolences to the family, please visit www.tracybrammerfh.com
Ethel Irene Gettys, 97, went home to her heavenly father on Monday, Oct. 14, 2013, after a long time of illness at the home of her daughter in South Point. She was the daughter of James and Martha Runyon Blair, born June 7, 1916, in Kentucky.
She worked at the Lawrence County General Hospital in the 50’s and 60’s and was a homemaker. She married Raymond L. Gettys on March 25, 1933, whom she grieved for with her last breath. She attended Christ Temple Church in Huntington, W.Va., when she was able.
She was preceded in death by her husband and her son, John R. Gettys and eight brothers and two sisters
She is survived by her daughters, JoAnn and Bob Kratzenburg, Donna Gettys and Barbara Sites; two sons, James L. Gettys and Charles and Brenda Gettys; 28 grandkids; 64 great-grandkids and 44 great-great-grandkids. She raised her granddaughter, Cindy Jo, plus several nieces and nephews. She loved life and helping others. She also leaves behind her loving pet, Ginger Ann
Funeral services will be 1 p.m. Thursday, at Phillips Funeral Home with Pastor Jeff Canfield officiating. Burial will follow in Highland Memorial Gardens and visitation will be Thursday from 12 p.m. until the time of the service at the funeral home. Pallbearers will be Charles Gettys, Shane Martin, Shawn Martin, Josh Staton, Tyler Staton, Chad Sites, Robert Kratzenburg, and Wolfgang Kratzenburg. To offer condolences to the family, please visit www.phillipsfuneralhome.net.
Wanda (Fulks) McCoy Howard, 80, of Ironton passed away on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013, at Oakmont Manor in Flatwoods, Ky. The Logan, W.Va., native was born, July 26, 1933, a daughter to late Dallas K. and Nell (Gallagher) Fulks. Mrs. Howard is also preceded in death by her first husband, Brent McCoy, who passed away in 1980 and her second husband, Chet Howard, who passed away in 1994.
Mrs. Howard was a graduate of Coal Grove High School. Wanda went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in education from Ohio University and received her master’s degree from Marshall University. She later worked as a school teacher and supervisor for special programs at Lawrence County School Board when she retired after 30 years of service. Wanda was also a member of First Assembly of God Church in Raceland, Ky.
Wanda is survived by a son, Dallas McCoy of Ironton; two grandchildren, Brent and Valerie McCoy of Ironton; a sister, Jean Ann (Rex) Cooksey of Westwood, Ky.; three nephews, Rex David Cooksey of Westwood, Kevin Cooksey of New York, and Steve Fulks of Huntington, W.Va.; and a niece, Kelly Cooksey of Richmond, Ky.
In addition to her parents and husbands, Wanda is preceded in death by two brothers, Bill and James Fulks.
Private graveside services will be 2 p.m. Thursday at Sugar Creek Cemetery with son, Dallas McCoy officiating.
Condolences may be made online to the family by visiting www.tracybrammerfh.com.
Frances Arlene Harris, 54, “29 and holding,” of Coal Grove, passed away Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Ironton. The Ironton native was born May 30, 1959, the daughter of the late Ferdia Abrams and Mabel Brown Abrams of Ironton. She is also survived by her husband, Earl Keith Harris.
Mrs. Harris attended Ironton High School, a homemaker, and was of the Baptist faith.
In addition to her father, she is preceded in death by two grandchildren, Payton Madden and Jamie Lynn Harris.
In addition to her husband and mother, she is survived by three daughters, Mary Jackson, Kimberly Harris and her companion Diane Bertram, and Nicole Harris, all of Coal Grove; four grandchildren, Jordann Madden, Callie Madden, Kaylee Harris, all of Coal Grove, and Sammy Hammond of Ironton;
a great grandchild, Kayden Madden of Coal Grove; three sisters and two brothers-in-law, Deborah and Danny Conley of Coal Grove, Belinda “Kootz” and James Harris of Coal Grove, and Linda Prince of Texas; four brothers and a sister-in-law, David and Ashley Abrams of Coal Grove, Bill Abrams of Coal Grove, Donald Prince of Coal Grove, and Jimmy Prince of Illinois; a nephew whom she raised as her own son, Eddie Abrams of Coal Grove; and a special niece, Melissa Conley of Coal Grove.
Funeral services will be 1 p.m. Friday at Phillips Funeral Home with Brother Mike Fyffe officiating. Burial will follow in Highland Memorial Gardens in South Point. Visitation will be 12 p.m. Friday at the funeral home. To offer condolences to the family, please visit www.phillipsfuneralhome.net. At the family’s request they ask everyone attending the services to please dress casual.
Chuck Collins Jr.
Chuck Collins Jr., 62, of Huntington, W.Va., died Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, at James Cancer Center, Columbus. He is survived by his wife, Annette Godbey Collins. Funeral services will be 7 p.m. Thursday at Hall Funeral Home, Proctorville. Visitation will be from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home. Condolences may be expressed to the family at www.timeformemory.com/hall.
Marie Blankenship, 78, of Barboursville, W.Va., died Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, at St. Mary’s Medical Center, Huntington, W.Va. Funeral services will be 7 p.m. Friday at Hall Funeral Home, Proctorville. Visitation will be from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home. Condolences may be expressed to the family at www.timeformemory.com/hall.
Leslee Blevins, 61, of Chesapeake, died Monday, Oct. 14, 2013, at the Emogene Dolin Hospice House of Huntington, W.Va. There will be no services. Arrangements are by Hall Funeral Home, Proctorville.