PORT CLINTON — Dr. Kenneth L. Akins, 81, a physician with a family practice who was Ottawa County coroner, died Thursday in Edgewood Manor Nursing Home, Port Clinton. He had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other health problems, his son, Greg, said.
Dr. Akins, a Republican, took office in 1983, succeeding Dr. V. William Wagner, who held the office for a decade. Dr. Akins had served as Dr. Wagner's assistant.
He took an interest in the science of the position — the autopsy and the pathology — and in “the role of coroner in the law enforcement circle,” his son said.
He maintained his practice during much of his tenure. When summoned to a death that was a potential coroner’s case, he’d often had a full day, with hospital rounds and office hours.
“He never hesitated to go out when they called and needed him,” his son said.
Dr. Akins retired as coroner in 2000.
He was a 1961 graduate of the Ohio State University medical school. He and his wife, Naomi, visited Port Clinton and liked the area “and thought it would be a good place to set up a practice and raise a family,” their son said. In 1962, he opened his family medical practice there.
“He cared about his patients. He had so much compassion,” said Jack Savage, a Port Clinton dentist. “He was a first-class person and respected in the entire community.”
His son recalled the hand-written ledger sheets and boxes of bills.
“It was like being a small-business person,” his son said. But caring for people was the first reason he became a family practitioner, rather than a specialist, his son said.
“That meant a lot to him on a day-to-day basis, having that connection and knowing he was helping out,” his son said. “I’ve heard a number of stories where he was sitting bedside with people when they were having a tough time.”
He retired from his practice in 1996. He’d also been the staff physician for several years at the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant near Oak Harbor, Ohio.
Dr. Akins channeled his interest in the history of his adopted hometown into two books: A self-published volume about the Ottawa County coroners from 1840-2004 recounting notable cases they handled and a history of Faith United Methodist Church in Port Clinton, where he was a member and treasurer.
He was a classically trained pianist and photographer. He and his wife belonged to the Port Clinton Yacht Club. He was a member of the Oliver H. Perry Lodge, F&AM.
Dr. Akins was born June 9, 1932, in Akron to Bernice and Quay Akins. He was in ROTC at the University of Akron, from which he received a bachelor’s degree in biology. He was a stateside Army veteran of the Korean War.
Surviving are his wife, Naomi, whom he married Sept. 19, 1959; son, Gregory; daughter, Cynthia Thornton; brother, Donovan, and five grandchildren.
Visitation will be from 2-8 p.m. Sunday in the Gerner-Wolf-Walker Funeral Home, Port Clinton. Services will be at 11 a.m. Monday in Faith United Methodist Church. The family suggests tributes to the church.