James ‘Jazz’ Akins
James Henry Akins, 615-A Franklin Sq. Court, departed this life on Friday, March 30, 2012.
James, known to all as “Jazz,” was born to Daniel Akins Sr. and Goldie B. Akins on February 4, 1941.
He grew up in St. Paul A.M.E. Church, having been President of his Sunday School Class as a youth. He attended Dunbar Elementary and Langston High Schools, graduating in 1964, where he played football. He served as Chain Crew member for the football team while attending Steed College, where he received an Associate Degree in Business.
He joined the U.S. Army, serving the majority of his two-year tour in Germany. Following his Army service, James attended East Tennessee State University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Business in 1979.
Jazz worked at Pharmaseal, then Baxter Pharmaceuticals, as a Supervisor in Production prior to his retirement. He then moved to Nashville, TN, to work as a Policy Developer and Analyst for the Office of Housing and Urban Development, returning to Johnson City to continue to work from home part-time for HUD, retiring again in 2006.
He was a member of the Langston High School Reunion Committee, working on bi-annual notification letters for alumni, serving as Host and Usher and helping with setup and decorations during reunion events.
Jazz also was a member of the UMOJA Arts and Cultural, Inc. annual Community Festival, serving as Assistant Vendor Coordinator and Assistant Security and Parking Liaison. He represented UMOJA at the TN Arts Commission Conventions.
He has been a member of PRO-TO Club, Inc. since 2006, serving on the Scholarship Committee and The Ways and Means Committee.
An avid sports fan, Jazz regularly attended ETSU home Football and Basketball games, and away games versus the University of Tennessee. He was a long-time supporter of the Johnson City Athletic Club, focusing especially on boxing, where he served as mentor to young athletes and as official Timekeeper during bouts. Jazz also participated in Big Brothers for several years, and was active in numerous activities for youth at Carver Recreation Center.
James was preceded in death by his mother, Goldie B. Akins; father, Daniel Akins Sr.; brothers, William and Robert Akins; and sister, Mary Ann Akins Greenlee, of Chicago, IL.
He is survived by daughter, Cherêê McAdams, and a son, Anthony Whiteside, of Johnson City, and son, Bobbie Avery, of Atlanta, GA; brothers Daniel Akins Jr. of Johnson City, John Akins, of Knoxville, TN, and Terry Akins, of San Diego, CA; sisters, Bettye Robinson, Brenda (James) Charles, his loving sisters who cared for him during his final illnesses, Nancy (H.R.) Posey and Janice (Harlan) Wells, all of Johnson City, and Shirley Bridges Lyons, of Annapolis, MD; grandchildren, Sydney and Jackson Whiteside and Cherêêka Lewis, of Johnson City, Courtney Jr. and Cabral Lewis; and great-grandson Courtney Lewis III, all of Flint MI.
He leaves to mourn his passing a host of friends and associates, especially George (G.L.) Nichols, W.A. (Bill) Coleman, Chief John Lowry, Johnson City Police Dept., and Scott Vance, Johnson City Athletic Club; a favored cousin, Louise Relford, of E. St. Louis, IL; and several nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews.
Memorial Services will be at 2:00 p.m., April 14, 2012, at St. Paul A.M.E. Zion Church, 201 Welbourne St., Johnson City, TN.
The family will receive friends from 1:00 p.m. until the service, and at other times at the home of his sister Nancy Posey, 1519 Baxter St., Johnson City, TN 37604.
Burial will be at Mountain Home National Cemetery at a later date. His name will be inscribed at the Johnson City/Washington County Veterans’ Memorial on West Market St., Johnson City, TN.
Professional services by Birchette Mortuary, Inc., www.birchettemortuary.com