David Christopher Akins, age 35, passed away peacefully in his home on August 12th with the love of his life, Claire, by his side. Dave fought a courageous and difficult battle with colorectal cancer, savoring every last minute he was able to be with his family.
David was born in Maryville, MO on May 14th, 1984 to Dennis and Linda Akins, and grew up with his brother, Jonathan. He was a fiercely loyal and loving son, brother, friend, husband, and father. His loyalty would stand out to all who came to know him throughout his life.
Dave grew up focusing much of his energy and attention on his first love before Claire, basketball. March Madness was Dave’s favorite time of the year and he could always be found cheering on his UNC Tarheels or the Mizzou Tigers (in a good year), even if it meant taking off a day or two from work. Watching or playing basketball was Dave’s happy place. After a VERY successful high school basketball career (where he still holds the 3-point shooting record at Maryville High School), Dave carried his love of basketball to Northeast Nebraska where he played college basketball for a year. Dave’s calm demeanor and gentle way belied his fiercely competitive spirit on the basketball court.
Had Dave been able to earn a living playing basketball he would have, but as that wasn’t in the cards, he earned his Business Management Degree from Northwest Missouri State University in 2007. Following college, he worked for DST Systems in Kansas City, MO from 2006 until 2016. He was recruited by a headhunter with TEK Systems at the end of 2016 and accepted a job with them working for Kansas City Southern Railway. Just the week before his diagnosis, Dave become a full time employee with KCS. The company was supportive and accommodating as Dave began his grueling chemo treatments and later participated in a clinical trial at the NIH. Throughout his battle Dave never complained, knowing that every treatment gave the possibility for him to be able to spend more time with his family.
At Tanner’s bar after a Sugarland country music concert, Dave found a new love, his true love, Claire. After getting engaged at Houston’s, the site of their first date, they eloped on January 22, 2011 and were later married at St. Ann Catholic Church by Father Keith Lunsford. As truly best friends, they enjoyed building a life and family together. While days of going on runs together quickly morphed into diapers and sleepless nights with babies, their love grew deeper and stronger throughout their nearly 9 years of marriage. Dave was the loving father and husband Claire had dreamed about for herself and her future children. The admiration was mutual since Dave told Claire on their anniversary, “You are indisputably the one for me!” He meant it with his whole heart.
Dave’s five beautiful children were his true pride and joy; they were his whole reason for being and fighting so hard throughout his battle with cancer. As Dave told Claire, he was proud that the kids would be carrying on his and Claire’s best traits and features. Henry (8), like his dad, is fiercely protective of those he cares about and is a problem-solver, ever working toward his goals; Charleston (6), brings happiness, light, creativity, and a quick smile to every situation; Hattie Cate (5), is confident and persistent, not worried about what others think; Callahan (3), with the Irish twinkle in his eye, is independent and never one to be left behind by his older siblings; Charlotte (1), with her shy smile is the ever-present rainbow during the dark time of Dave’s battle and the glue that binds them all together. The joyful memories of their extraordinary husband and father will sustain Claire and their children as they grieve, and his unwavering love for them will remain in their hearts forever. The children will continue to develop Dave’s remarkable traits as they grow, keeping his memory ever present for their family and to anyone who meets them.
Dave came to his Catholic faith through his relationship with Claire and it was his faith that carried him through his long, hard-fought battle. He often said to Claire, “If this is God’s will, who am I to get in the way?” Ever selfless, Dave’s final years and months were spent gathering a support network for Claire and the kids, ensuring that they would be well taken care of in his absence. The St. Ann Parish and school, the greater Kansas City Catholic community & hospice and NIH & KU nurses and doctors, Dave’s work colleagues from both DST Systems & Kansas City Southern, even a Senator and a couple Chiefs players, were added to the already bursting network of family, friends, and so many others whose respect and love for Dave will now be passed on to his beautiful family.
Dave is survived by his devoted wife, Claire, his doting children, Henry (8), Charleston (6), Hattie Cate (5), Callahan (3), and Charlotte (1), his mother, Linda Akins, his father and stepmother, Dennis and Karen Akins, his brother Jonathan Akins (Becky), and his step siblings, Adriann Chiles, Robert Long (Abby), and Michelle Potts, and far too many loving aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews to list. Dave also leaves behind a large group of steadfast friends around the country who enjoyed the loyalty and humor that accompanied his friendship.
A mass of Christian burial will be held at St. Ann Catholic Church in Prairie Village, KS on Friday, August 16th at 3 pm. Mass will be followed by a Celebration of Life picnic outside the St. Ann gym and on the playground. All families are welcome to attend. Dave’s family will be wearing blue for Dave’s favorite team, the UNC Tarheels, as well as for colorectal cancer awareness. We invite you to do the same if you wish.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to an education fund for the Akins children. Donations can be mailed to 8120 W. 99th Street Overland Park, KS 66212 or made to Dave’s GoFundMe page with the comment “education fund”.
Dave’s soul continues on in Heaven, but we also know that his love of Ireland, the wonderful time he spent with his family in Ireland, and his Irish roots will inspire his presence through the rainbows we find, both in the sky and in our memories of Dave.
An Irish Prayer
May God give you…
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for every prayer.