Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 19, 1961
NUMBER 36, PAGE 4,13b

John W. Akin --- 1873 - 1960


James W. Adams, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

On Monday morning, November 28, 1960, brother John W. Akin of Dallas, Texas quietly breathed his last as his immortal spirit departed an infirm and aged body to be with God who gave it. Thus passed from this scene of action and the fellowship of God's people upon this earth one of the Lord's noblemen. Brother Akin was born in Henderson, Texas, August 12, 1873. East Texas was his -home for most of his life, Longview in particular. He moved to Dallas in 1945 where he made his home until the time of his death. He was married to Nellie Fausett April 8, 1900. Through 60 years of life, in good times and bad, they faithfully walked together — a living vindication of the wisdom of God in creating the marriage state and an inspiration to all who knew them. Their home was never blessed by children of their own, but they were beloved second parents to a large number of nieces and nephews and to every Christian young person of their acquaintance. In young manhood, brother Akin was saved from digression and apostasy as a result of the faithful efforts of John T. Poe and the eloquent, sound preaching of Foy E. Wallace Sr. As long as brother Wallace lived, brother Akin felt a keen sense of unpayable obligation to him for the part he had played in his redemption from error. Throughout a period of more than fifty years, brother Akin, "having put his hand to the plow," never once "looked back." His devotion to truth, love for the church which Jesus purchased with his blood, dedication to high, ethical principles of Christian conduct, and determination to spend eternity with God in heaven never at any time wavered. He died, therefore, in the triumphant faith of the gospel, able to say with Paul, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."

Brother Akin was an astute business man, and began early to accumulate land in Gregg and Rusk Counties where he lived. With the advent of the great oil discovery in 1932 and 1933 in these counties, he came into possession of considerable wealth. Unlike the average man, however, his wealth changed him not at all. He continued to live in humility and simplicity and dedication to God. His money was not dissipated in the satiation of the sensual appetites of the flesh, but like himself was dedicated to the service and glory of God.

During the period between 1933 and his death, brother Akin must have given a million dollars directly to the cause of the Lord and particularly to the preaching of His word. Several hundred thousand dollars were also given to the cause of education and benevolence. The two colleges which were particularly the object of brother Akin's philanthropy were Freed-Hardeman College, Henderson, Tennessee, and Florida Christian College, Tampa, Florida. Too, hundreds of people, preachers and others, were helped with reference to first one need and the other. Church buildings were constructed, congregations were helped to construct buildings either by outright gifts or loans, preachers were supported in meetings and local work, young people were helped to go to college, and individuals in time of sickness, death, or other catastrophes which laid upon them severe financial burdens were assisted. Time and space would fail us in attempting to be specific concerning these matters, and we doubt that brother Akin would want us to do so were he able to express his wishes. While he lived, he desired no publicity or glory with reference to his activities.

Brother Akin took his greatest delight in spending his money directly for the proclamation of the pure gospel of Christ. While gifts were made by him to institutions, his preeminent interest was the proclamation of the truth. To this end, more than a decade ago, he set up the Akin Foundation. To this Foundation he deeded certain of his oil properties, the income from which was given to faithful churches of Christ for the purpose of proclaiming the gospel. A board of three men serve the Foundation in deciding which congregations shall receive as gifts the income from this property. So, even while our beloved brother is dead, he shall yet speak through the proclamation of the gospel accomplished by congregations who are the beneficiaries of his substance.

Brother Akin is survived by his widow, sister Nellie Akin of Dallas, Texas and a number of nieces and nephews.

Because the writer of this article knew so well and loved so dearly its subject over a period of more than twenty years, we shall inject a personal note at its close. Twenty years ago, brother Akin learned of our desire to attend college, and graciously offered to loan us the money for that purpose. We accepted his generosity, but upon completing the period of time we desired to remain in school, we repaid every penny of that which he loaned us. It was never necessary for us to call upon brother Akin again, during his life, for financial assistance, for which we were grateful. It was, however, a source of much satisfaction to us to know that we were held high in his esteem throughout the remainder of his life because we did repay him. We loved brother Akin for what he was, not for what he had. We revere his memory today because of what he was, not because of what he had! He loved the Lord; he loved the Lord's church; he loved the truth; he loved all preachers who were loyal to God's truth; he loved the Lord's faithful people. He gave himself unreservedly to the way of life which God decrees that men must follow. For these sterling qualities of Christian manhood we loved him and because of them we honor his memory. Because we shall miss him, we weep, but concerning his destiny there is in our hearts no doubt May his absolute dedication to God and his outstanding example of the proper use of material substance serve as signposts to many to point the way to "the more abundant life."