Robert (“Bob”) G. Akin strode into paradise on Sunday evening, March 22, 2015, in size 15 cowboy boots, for a welcome reunion with his parents, sister and grandson as well as a quick “See you later kid” to his newest great granddaughter, due on Friday. His 83 years (plus 1 month) on earth began on Feb. 22, 1932, when Floyd Akin and Edna Ruth Young welcomed their first-born son in Hancock, Iowa, and appropriately named him Robert George, marking his shared birthday with a more famous George. Four more sisters would join the family by the end of the Great Depression, and in 1939, the promise of work led the Akin family to Greybull, Wyo.
Bob’s move to Wyoming’s Big Horn Basin with his family turned out to be permanent, as he would never live anyplace else. He attended schools in both Greybull and Basin, including one year at the old stone schoolhouse between Greybull and Shell. His desire to be a doctor seemed impossible given the family’s situation, so he went to work for the REA, and when the company wanted to start a rural phone company, he became manager of Tri-County Telephone (later to become TCT West), a position he would hold until his retirement in 1994.
Bob was very committed to his job whether he was in town or not, and truly appreciated the opportunities his work provided. Travel with his wife, children and grandchildren was a particular joy of his. He just loved to GO, whether it was on one of his regular (and lengthy) trips to Billings, Mont., or in travel throughout much of the USA as well as to far parts of the world. Alaska, Branson, Nashville with the Grand Ole Opry and the Northeast states with their fall colors were particular favorites. He loved the beauty of Fiji and New Zealand and also spent time in Australia, Guatemala, and Europe including Austria (where he slept through the Grand Opera), Italy, Switzerland, France and Germany.
Another joy for Bob was shopping. The area economy no doubt felt a negative impact when Bob moved into the care center! His willingness to bargain ANYWHERE is legendary in the family as was his habit of purchasing multiple items when he found what he wanted (seven lawnmowers at one time, for example). His love for cars fit his love for travel, and he will be pleased to know that his final ride will be in a Cadillac! His true passion in life however was his family. He often commented that he didn’t know how he could ever die as he felt the need to watch out for his children, their children, and THEIR children.
Bob married Ethel Parkin on Dec. 23, 1950, in Basin, Wyo., just months after the two of them graduated from Basin High School. By April 1956, their young family included three daughters; Patti, twins Joni and Juli and a son, Larry. Bob was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1958 and the family was sealed in the Idaho Falls Temple in 1962. As the children grew and participated in sports and other activities, if there was an Akin on the field or floor, Dad was in the stands! Bob and Ethel were later blessed with the opportunity of helping to raise two granddaughters.
Bob served his church as a member of two bishoprics and a stake presidency, and his community as a long-time member of the Basin City Council and as mayor. Other interests and activities included tennis, skiing, bowling, hunting, fishing and yard work. He loved country western music and anything John Wayne. He gave good advice and will be fondly remembered for his oft-spoken truisms, many of which can be repeated in public!
The family built a home in Basin, Wyo., in the early days of their marriage and Bob resided there until November 2007, when he began a six-month stay at a care facility in Billings, Mont. He then moved into the Bonnie Bluejacket Memorial Nursing Home where he lived until his passing.
Bob is survived by his wife Ethel who resides at the care center, daughters Patti (David) Scheveck of Laurel, Mont., Joni (Charlie) Bender of Billings, Mont., Juli (Dode) Harrison of Basin, Wyo., and Larry (Maurine) Akin, of Powell, Wyo.; 23 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren; and three sisters: Deloris (Gil – deceased) Gaudern, Riverton, Wyo., Margaret (Bob – deceased) Stilson, Payson, Ariz., and Jeanette (Dick) Stilson, Phoenix. His parents preceded him in death, as did his sister Eleanor, half-brother Calvin, brothers-in-law Gil Gaudern and Bob Stilson and his grandson Kory Lamont.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 28, 2015, at the LDS Church between Greybull and Basin, 400 U.S. Highway 20 S. A public viewing will precede the funeral from 10 to 10:30 a.m. at the church. Interment will follow at Mount View Cemetery in Basin.
The children wish to thank those who cared for Dad in such a considerate manner in his final years, particularly as dementia robbed us all of the real Bob. A special thanks to the staff at the Bonnie Bluejacket Nursing Home who cared for Bob and the family so lovingly during his final hours.
Atwood Family Funeral Directors, Inc. assisted the family with arrangements.