AKIN, Dr. John M. Jr., Mountain Brook, born November 1, 1928, in Birmingham, Alabama, died peacefully March 1, 2013, at home. He is survived by his loving and devoted wife of sixty years, his soul mate, Dolores Knudson Akin and his children: Sara McGivaren (Crawford), Kathleen Parsons (Timothy), and Marie Wright (Michael). He was predeceased by his son, John Akin III (Sarah). His grandchildren are: Sharp and John McGivaren; Bill (Melanie), Stephen, and Sara Smyly; Megan and Chelsey LaRussa; and Catherine, Michael and Laurie Akin. His great-grandchild is Al Smyly. He was predeceased by his sister, Gene Martin (Fred) of Pensacola, Florida, and is survived by his sister Martha Walston (Robert) of Birmingham.
Dr. Akin was a lifelong resident of Birmingham, graduating from Phillips High School in 1946, where he was senior class president, vice-president of the student body, ROTC cadet major, member of the National Honor Society, and Valedictorian. He attended Birmingham-Southern College, graduating summa cum laude in 1949. He was President of the Student Body, a member of the honorary societies Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa, and Skull and Bones, and the Sigma Alpha Epsilon social fraternity.
Following the path of his father, Dr. John M. Akin, Sr., Dr. Akin entered the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. Internship and residency at Penn followed, interrupted by a two-year stint as a captain in the U.S. Air Force Medical Corps at Eglin Air Force Base in Fla. After service, he returned to Pennsylvania for surgical training where he was Chief Resident of the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in 1960-61.
In 1961, Dr. Akin returned to Birmingham and began private practice as a surgeon. As a physician, of first importance was caring for his patients and he was in turn beloved not only by his patients, but by the nursing staff with whom he worked. In 1976, before the internet, as President of the County Medical Society, he helped set up "Tel-Med," a public call-in service where people could get taped discussions of many medical conditions. His unstinting attention to patient care was honored by his patients establishing a medical education scholarship in his name with the Baptist Hospital Foundation.
Giving back, Dr. Akin devoted time to teaching medical students and residents and was a clinical professor of surgery at the Medical College of Alabama. Dr. Akin was instrumental in the establishment of the Baptist Health System Surgical Residency program. Dr. Akin was the General Surgery Program Director for 14 years, the longest of any surgeon to serve in that position. Even after retirement, he contributed his wisdom and experience to medical education with attendance at the Baptist/Trinity residents' weekly Mortality and Morbidity conference.
Dr. Akin received many other honors and freely gave his time and talents in other positions. He was a Diplomat of American Board of Surgery, member of the American College of Surgeons, member of Southeastern Surgical Congress, President of the Jefferson County Medical Society, Vice-President and life Counselor of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama, President of Birmingham Academy of Medicine, Vice President of the Birmingham Surgical Society, and President of the Baptist Montclair Medical Center Medical Staff. He served on the Board of Directors of the American Cancer Society, Jefferson County and as advisor to the Society's program for breast cancer patients "Roads to Recovery."
His family and faith were foremost in his life. A member of Canterbury United Methodist Church, he was on the Board of Stewards for many years. No meal was ever served without grace. His and Dolores' home was always open to children and grandchildren, with lessons in history, family background, medicine, and countless topics at the ready. And he delighted in telling jokes at Sunday dinner and doted on his dogs that returned his love in full. The house at Lake Martin was maintained as a center of family companionship and enjoyment; and enjoy it they did. A log signed by all on every visit stands as historical testament to that.
Visitation will begin at 9:30 A.M. on Tuesday, March 5, in the Parlor at Canterbury United Methodist Church, Mountain Brook, to be followed by services at 11:00 in the main Sanctuary, with burial at Elmwood to follow. Memorial contributions may be made to John M. Akin Scholarship Fund at Birmingham Southern College.