John W. Akin

Bryan Vinson, Sr.
Longview, Texas

John W. Akin was born August 12, 1873. He died November 28, 1960. Between these two dates in time, he lived a span of more than eighty-seven years. His was a long life, and what is more important, a very useful one. The world has been greatly benefitted by his having lived. Many lives have been touched by his, and blessed by the touching. His influence was one pronouncedly for good. He sought to do good because he was essentially good, and in thus doing he became increasingly good himself. This is the law of growth as bearing on the development of character. Brother Akin was a Christian. He was not merely one in name, or nominally one, but actually and consistently one, day by day. He lived each day with the cause of Christ as being uppermost in his affections and interest. All other interests and concerns were subordinate to this.

The influence of he and his good wife, who is his only immediate survivor, was dual-an influence wrought by what they were, and by what they had. These complemented each other; and the salutary effects of either would be greatly reduced, if not nullified, by the absence of the other.

If they had given of what they had without first giving themselves to the Lord, then it would have been unacceptable. If, on the other hand, they had sought to give themselves to the Lord without at the same time giving of that which they were blessed with in material substance, they would have failed. They were blessed with considerable wealth by reason of the presence of oil under their land. This wealth was not produced by them; it was placed there by the Lord. Hence, it properly was but theirs to be used for His glory. Brother Akin sought to do good with the money in his possession. In this he was partially successful, and in part he failed. Every trust he was led to repose in men and their aims did not always prove to be well-placed. But he accomplished much good with that which he endeavored to do.

His benefactions were both religious and humanitarian. He aided brethren in many places in the work of the Lord, in providing either wholly or in part the means for erecting suitable meeting places for the saints to worship. Several congregations in East Texas were so assisted by him. Too, the support of the gospel by way of assisting gospel preachers in the proclamation of the truth was a leading and continuing interest and effort of his. Also, it has been a well known fact that he has contributed heavily to two colleges. Freed-Hardeman College and in later years Florida Christian College received substantial sums from Brother and Sister Akin.

Independent of what he has done materially, the real worth of Brother Akin is to be recognized in his intrinsic character as a Christian. He was before as well as after he came into his wealth a consecrated follower of Christ. He was a spiritual force of strength in Longview and through East Texas all the years he lived there, and was always found on the side of truth and righteousness in every conflict. He truly kept the faith and fought a good fight; hence, he has laid hold on eternal life, we are fully persuaded. The memory of his life of faith will linger long in the hearts of those who knew him, and be a sweet-smelling savor for good the remainder of our days.

His funeral was conducted in Longview, Texas, on Tuesday, the twenty-ninth of November at the building of the Judson Road Church of Christ, with interment in the Memory Park Cemetery. The principal talk was made by Bryan Vinson, as was his request made several years ago. James W. Adams, Osby Weaver and Roy Cogdill each had a part in the services.

Truth Magazine, V:5, p. 1
February 1961