Paul W. Akins, 91

Paul W. Akins, age 91, of Watertown, died Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at his residence.

A memorial service will take place Saturday, Feb. 16 at 11 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church (513 Madison St. SE) in Watertown, with the Rev. Jeffrey Engholm as officiant. Interment will follow in the church cemetery.

There will be a gathering of family and friends one hour prior to the service at the church.

Arrangements are with the Johnson Funeral Home in Waconia; www.johnsonfh.com.

As an authentic peasant of the land, Paul died in his sleep on the same farm where he was born 91 years earlier, Nov. 18, 1927, south of Watertown.

His grandfather was one of the original 1856 settlers of the Swedish settlement south of Watertown. Most of these settlers were known as the “Sugar Grove Swedes,” since most were from Sugar Grove Pennsylvania Lutheran Church. As a boy, Paul attended the Swede Lake one-room schoolhouse which was formerly the Gothaholm Lutheran Church on the west side of Swede Lake.

In high school, Paul earned the lifelong nickname “Bull” for his football running style where he would try to run through opposing players, with great success.

Paul graduated from Watertown High School in 1945, at the age of 17. Unlike his two older brothers, Paul wanted no part in World War II and was deeply grateful when the war ended before he was drafted.

Paul played town team baseball for Watertown, and was a member of the state tournament-winning team in 1951.

In September 1956, Paul met Jolene Carlson while custom silo filling on the Carlson farm. They were married March 9, 1957, at Trinity Lutheran Church.

A lifelong dairy farmer, Paul hobbled on worn-out knees and bad legs, which reduced his quality of life for the last 20 years. He was a sneering opponent of television watching, and watched very little TV for 40 years, but when Jolene died, he was so sad and lonely that he would spend all day staring into the abyss of the talking idiot box, a grand irony of the last year of his life.

In addition to his wife, Jolene; Paul was preceded in death by his parents, Arthur and Bertha Akins; infant daughter Lisa Joy Akins; brothers and sisters-in-law Carlton and Margaret Akins, and James and Inga Akins; and sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law Lorraine and Gerald Strassburg; James McPadden, and H.E. Brown.

He is survived by his loving family: children Peter (Pam) Akins of Mankato, Dawn (Stephen) Otto of Winsted, and Douglas Akins of Watertown; grandchildren Lynn (Brian) Fulford, Claire Otto, Diane Otto, and Raymond Otto; and great-grandchildren Vivian and Eleanore Fulford, and Bartholomew and Vittoria Otto.

He is further survived by sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law Deloris McPadden of Waconia, LaVonne Brown of Nashua, NH, Robert and Dorothy Carlson of Colorado Springs, CO, Loren and Joyce Carlson of Shakopee, and Dean Carlson of Montrose; numerous nieces, nephews, and other relatives; and many friends.

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