MADISON, Wis. — Vernon Akins, age 85, of Madison, passed away very peacefully at home, on Wednesday, April 19, 2017, after a lengthy illness. Vern was born on June 28, 1931, in Lame Deer Mont. After graduating from high school at Colstrip in 1948, he proudly served his country in the US Armed Forces from 1952 to 1954, when he was honorably discharged. He then attended Montana State University in Billings, Mont., the first Native American from the Northern Cheyenne Tribe in Lame Deer to graduate from college.
After graduation he worked as a salesman for Merck Pharmaceutical Company and was assigned a northern Wisconsin territory. Vern married Doris Burgess in Sidney Mont., prior to moving to Appleton, Wis. After Doris’s death he met Ella Mulcahy (nee: Schwartz) and they were married in 1994, in Madison. Vern was a member of the Kiwanis Club in Appleton, the Monona Grove Businessmen Club, and the Eastside Club of Madison. Vern’s hobbies included golf, wood carving, reading, and hiking the High Cliff Bluffs with his grandchildren in Appleton. One of his special moments was when he hit a “hole-in-one” while on vacation in Florida with friends.
He courageously fought the effects of Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, and a stoke in 2011, and spent most of his time since then watching sports such as, golf, Packers, Badgers and Brewer games, and NASCAR. He thoroughly enjoyed and looked forward to his weekly outing with his special friend, Phil Bultman, who took him to Tully’s every Friday for a Diet Pepsi.
Vern is survived by his wife, Ella Mulcahy-Akins; his daughters, Kathy (Nick) Klein and Pam Akins of Appleton; four grandchildren, Dawn Klein, Nick (Angela) Klein, Jacob (Amanda) Schneider and Corey Hietpas; eight great-grandchildren; his sisters, betty Streeter, Ella (Russ) Miller and Gloria Walters, all of Mont., and Jean (Connie) Galey of Okla.; and many beloved nieces and nephews. He is further survived by his three stepchildren, Dan Mulcahy, Sandy (Matt) Reuter, and Lynn Sullivan; three foreign exchange students, Carla, Mariella and Maria Eva Garcia and many other extended family members and friends. In addition to his parents, and first wife, Doris, he was preceded in death by his brother-in-law, Floyd Walters; and many of Doris’s and Ella’s siblings and in-laws.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY, 1501 Schofield St., Monona, at 11:30 a.m., on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, with Fr. Chad Droessler presiding, a luncheon will follow after mass. Visitation will be held at the church from 9:30 a.m. until the time of the service on Wednesday. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Immaculate Heart of Mary endowment fund, 1501 Schofield St., or Wisconsin Parkinson Association, 2819 W. Highland Blvd., Milwaukee, or to a charity of your choice. Online condolences may be made at www.gundersonfh.com.
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