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William Henry Adkins

William Henry Adkins
  • April 27, 1945 - January 31, 2017
  • Fort Walton Beach, Florida

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Born April 27, 1945 in Pinellas County Florida to Lydia Addlina Rathel and William Walter Adkins.  Called Henry by his childhood friends, grew up in abject poverty working hard in the cotton fields to support his family from a young age.  Bill graduated from Chipley High School in 1963 with a group of classmates he would learn to call family.  Immediately upon graduation, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He faithfully served for 22 years in many locations around the globe, including a tour in Vietnam, and obtained the rank of Master Sergeant.  Education was very important to Bill and in addition to having an excellent academic record throughout his grade school years, he went on to many postgraduate pursuits, earning two bachelors degrees, two masters degrees, and a Doctorate of Education.  After retirement from the USMC, he went on to provide counseling to prisoners.   Bill's mission in life was to help others succeed and one way he fulfilled this was serving as guidance counselor and assistant principal of French Camp Academy in French Camp, MS.  Always passionate for others to know his savior, Bill also served as pastor at Carolina Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Mississippi and Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Crestview, Florida.  Along the way, Bill assisted numerous others in need of financial help, spiritual or emotional help,  or educational services.   He cared very much for young people and "adopted" many students and young friends who have become family.  Bill's life is celebrated by his wife of 28 years, Crystal, his four children Julie Bass and husband Eric, Josh Nelson and wife Jamie, Tricia Morse and husband Ron, Joey Nelson and his Robin, also Brandon and Christina Smethurst, and Tashia Brown and husband Brian, 22 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, and many others who considered him a father- also Betti Rogers, his beloved teacher and friend.  Bill's family wishes for all who knew him to pursue a relationship with Jesus so we may all be together with Bill again.  Visitation will be on Saturday, February 4, 2017 from 9:30-10:30AM followed by A Celebration of Life Service at 10:30 AM all from Shalimar United Methodist Church. Interment will follow with full military honors at Cotton Cemetery in Baker, Florida.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to French Camp Academy, 1 Fine Place, French Camp, Mississippi 39745.