Jane Woodroof Akers (91) was born in Griffin, Georgia. She passed away Thursday, November 22, 2018 in Oak Ridge, TN. She received her BSHE at the University of Georgia in 1946 (later doing graduate study at University of Tennessee in Knoxville). This was also the year she married her husband for the next seventy years, Lawrence Akers. She met her beloved Lawrence at a March of Dimes dance, while he was on leave from the USS Patterson during WWII.
In 1960 she and her family lived in Vienna, Austria for eighteen months, an experience that opened the world to her. She revisited Vienna over twenty years later, traveling through East Germany and Russia with her mother. She went to Australia, Nepal, India and China with Lawrence while in her seventies. During her life, she traveled all over the United States, from Maine to Alaska.
Mrs. Akers was a lifelong gardener, and she derived great pleasure working in her North Chattanooga flower garden, where she utilized many native Tennessee plants and trees. Her garden in Chattanooga was featured on the Chattanooga Garden Club tour several years running, and was certified by the National Wildlife Federation as a wildlife habitat in 2014. She was generous in sharing her knowledge and love of plants, and many of her friends and family have cherished plantings from Mrs. Akers’ gardens.
Mrs. Akers was an active member in a church in every community she lived in. She served as a deacon and as the church clerk at Chevy Chase Baptist Church in Washington, DC. In Chattanooga, she was an active member of the Challengers Sunday School Class at First Baptist Golden Gateway. She recently became a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Oak Ridge. Led by her Christian faith, she devoted herself to volunteering. While in Oak Ridge, she worked as a volunteer probation officer and was active in her church's Prisoner’s Aid Society, visiting Brushy Mountain. In Washington, D.C. she volunteered in soup kitchens and homeless shelters. In Chattanooga, she was a regular at the local soup kitchen and delivered meals for Senior Neighbors. She found deeply rewarding work with AIDS clients for Chattanooga CARES. Her CARES work garnered her the 2003 Tennessee Medical Association’s Community Service Award for her dedicated service.
Inheriting her mother Naomi Woodroof’s interest in genealogy, she was an active member of the Daughters of the American Revolution Chief John Ross Chapter, serving as a Registrar and a Historian. She curated an extensive collection of family papers, pictures and memorabilia.
Her family remembers her generosity of spirit that extended to strays of all species - lost animals and humans alike found meals, counsel and shelter at her door. She said, "Life is hard, and we ought to be kind to one another."
She is survived by her sister, Cade Smith; her four children Keith Akers (Kate Lawrence), James Akers (Sandy Manigold), Paul Akers (Barbara Reeve), Mariella Akers; two grandchildren (Holli and Rose Akers) and two great-grandchildren (Stella and Jasper).
Arrangements have been entrusted to Lane Funeral Home (www.lanefh.com). In Chattanooga, visitation will be 12-1 p.m. Thursday November 29, 2018 at Lane Funeral Home (601 Ashland Terrace) with graveside service to follow 1:30 p.m. in the Chattanooga National Cemetery. In Oak Ridge, a memorial service will be held 2 p.m. Sunday December 2, 2018 at First Presbyterian Church of Oak Ridge, with a reception to follow.
Contributions may be made to Doctors Without Borders or to the Jane and Lawrence Akers Physics Endowment Fund at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (Department 6806, University of Chattanooga Foundation, 615 McCallie Ave., Chattanooga, TN 37403).