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J. Ralph Akins

Mr. J. Ralph Akins passed away Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013, at the age of 87. He was born in Bulloch County, Ga., Feb. 17, 1925, to the late Lewis A. and Manona Brannen Akins. He was preceded in death by his wife of 65 years, Gladys Bowdoin Akins, in January 2012, and his brothers Harold M. Akins, L. Lamar Akins, William B. Akins, and his sister Mary Sue Akins. He attended Gordon Military College in Barnesville, Ga., until he was called into active military service in 1943. He served in the US Army Corps of Engineers until December 1945, spending about one year of service in France, Belgium and Germany until the war ended in Europe. He was a member of First Baptist Church of Griffin, Kiwanis of Griffin, and the Griffin Area Habitat for Humanity. He was honored by the Griffin Exchange Club as Man of the Year in 2005. On Jan. 1, 1946, he and his brothers, Harold and Lamar, who were also World War II veterans, each purchased a 25% ownership from their father in Akins Feed and Seed Company in Barnesville. Later they opened branches of the business in Thomaston (1949) and Griffin (1953). The Thomaston location was later sold and the Barnesville and Griffin locations are now operated by third and fourth generations of the Akins family. They have been dealers for Ralston-Purina, Company (now Purina Mills) since 1949 and for Snapper Lawn Equipment for about 50 years. He is survived by his daughters Cheryl (Jim) Matlock and Betty Anne (Billy) Avery and grandchildren Derek (Cathy) George, Jamie (Dana) Matlock, Jill (Stan) Matlock-Carter and Amelia George Alexander. He is also survived by his great-grandchildren Chance Matlock-Carter, Jon Elliot Matlock-Carter, Westley Matlock-Carter, Austin Matlock, Bryce Matlock and Chloe Renei George. Friends may visit the family between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013 at the Conner-Westbury Funeral Home. A memorial service will be conducted at First Baptist Church, Griffin on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2012 at 2 p.m. Dr. Bill Hardee will officiate. In lieu of flowers, Mr. Akins requested donations be made to First Baptist Church of Griffin, P.O. Box 908, Griffin, Ga., 30224, The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, 6350 N. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale, Fla., 33309 or the Griffin Area Habitat of Humanity, 1386 Carver Rd., Griffin, Ga., 30223. Conner-Westbury Funeral Home, 1891 W. McIntosh Rd., Griffin, is in charge of arrangements, conner-westburyfuneralhome.com.

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