Obituary of W. Frank Akers
GENESEO: Dr. W. Frank Akers, a resident of the Livingston County Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Mount Morris, N.Y. and formerly of Geneseo, died Saturday, January 12, 2008, with several family members at his bedside.
Born William Franklin Akers, December 25, 1920, in Lebanon, Indiana, son of Abram and Goldiene Grove Akers, he graduated in 1938 from Lebanon High School. He pursued his love of music, athletics, and education throughout his life.
A talented musician, he played trumpet and toured with the Buddy Davis orchestra of Denver, Colorado. He played Triple A baseball with several clubs, including the Chicago Cubs, the Washington Senators, and the Brooklyn Dodgers, and in 1942, when he was ready to go to the majors, he was called up instead by the United States Air Force.
During World War II, he was with the 376th Heavy Bombardment Group in Benghazi, Libya and with the Fighter Pilot Combat Orientation Group in Karachi, India. Honorably discharged at the end of the war, he married Josephine Nanni on May 13, 1946, in Butler, Pennsylvania.
He then attended McMurry College in Abilene, where he earned a B.S. in Physical Education and Science and was the basketball and baseball head coach from 1948-49. He continued his education at Springfield College in Massachusetts, earning a M.S. in Education and Physical Education in 1950. He completed work on his doctoral degree at Springfield College, earning his DPE in 1963.
In 1950, he began his teaching career at SUNY Geneseo, where he taught for 27 years, retiring as a Full Professor of Health and Physical Education in July 1977. In addition to teaching, he played trumpet in several of the college's musical productions and coached men's varsity sports, including soccer (eight years), basketball (eight years) and baseball (27 years). He was the university's Director of Athletics for
17 years and was the second person inducted into Geneseo's Sports Hall of Fame.
While teaching and coaching at SUNY Geneseo, he was active in professional baseball, serving as a commissioned scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates for 23 years, as a member of the Pirates spring training staff for two years, and as the Pirates' Scouting Supervisor for the Great Lakes Area from 1959-1960.
In 1978, Frank and his wife, Josephine, moved to Ormond Beach, Florida, where he enjoyed playing his trumpet professionally with a range of groups, including the Summer Music Theater Orchestra, the Daytona Municipal Band, the Daytona Symphony Orchestra, the Joe Mose Big Band, and several small combos.
He was a member of the American Federation of Musicians (Local #352, Frankfort, IN; #171, Springfield, MA; #601, Daytona Beach, FL; and #389, Orlando, FL). In 2001 Frank and Josephine moved back to western NY, residing in Geneseo and Mount Morris.
He was predeceased by his parents, Goldiene in March 1977 and Abe in April 1978, his wife, Josephine, on April 27, 2006, and a sister, Goldiene Canada, on June 1, 2007. Surviving are seven children and their
spouses: Char Mae (Neal) Frysinger, Canton, N.Y., Yvonne (Richard) Ramsey, Fort Wayne, Ind., Vincent (Robin) Akers, Scottsdale, Ariz., Laura (Doug) Welch, Geneseo, Teresa (Richard) Brown, Dunedin, Fla., Diane (Richard) Skeffington, Retsof, Darcy (Todd) Voeks, Lake Mary, Fla.
He is survived by one sister, Virginia King of California, 20 grandchildren, three great-grandsons, and several nieces and nephews.
Always a gentleman, mild-mannered, kind, and witty even in his final days, Frank was a loving father and mentor. We will miss his cheerfulness, optimism, clear-headed guidance, and sweet smile.