Bill Akers was a quiet man of humble service. He lived his life through his strong Catholic faith and sense of honor and personal responsibility. The decorated veteran of World War II died last month at the age of 98.
Gonzaga Prep honors his service and celebrates the values that were the foundation for his life before, during, and after the war. “His Catholic upbringing, his education, it all played an enormous role in who he was,” says son Bill `83, the youngest of seven children of Bill and wife Jeanne who passed away in 2016.
Bill Akers grew up in Seattle, attending Catholic grade school and graduated from Seattle Prep in 1941, just as the United States entered World War II. “After Pearl Harbor, everyone was eager to serve,” Akers among them, son Bill says. He was drafted in 1943, and served bravely as Private First Class with the Fighting 99th. He was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge, Germany’s last failed offensive to win the war. “Dad saw much,” the younger Akers says, “but he never glorified war.”
In fact, he didn’t talk about his experience in war until later in life. “Even though he was a soldier, he was a very gentle soul. He kept his service revolver, and told the family after the war he’d never pick up a weapon again.”
His upbringing, his education, his faith all played an enormous role in who he was. When Bill and Jeannie moved from Seattle to Spokane, “He was thrilled to be able to send his children to Gonzaga Prep, a Jesuit, Catholic school.” Akers was a staunch high school sports fan and a fixture at Albi Stadium, which the Pups called home, before Bullpup Stadium was completed.
“Generations of my family have gone to Prep and stayed in Spokane to ensure their kids would receive a Prep education,” son Bill says.
To honor the legacy of Bill and Jeanne Akers, friends and family established the Akers Family Scholarship to help provide others the opportunity for a Prep education they received.
THE AKERS FAMILY
Bill Akers was father of Kathy Akers Davis, Eileen Akers Kain, Phil Akers'76, Jeannie Akers Saccomanno '78, Sheila Akers Warne '80 and Bill Akers '83. He was grandfather of Patrick Davis '91, Kathleen Davis '95, Margaret Davis '96, Sharon Roberts Freeman '96, Sean Akers '06, Hannah Akers '08, Kristen Saccomanno '98, Michael Saccomanno '01, Lily Warne '19, Grace Warne '23, Sarah Akers '09, Clare Akers '12 and John Akers '14.