Cover photo for Mrs. Mary Jane Akins's Obituary
Mrs. Mary Jane Akins Profile Photo
1929 Mary 2023

Mrs. Mary Jane Akins

October 16, 1929 — September 29, 2023

Mary Jane Akins (Hart) peacefully departed to be reunited with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on September 29, 2023, leaving behind a legacy that will forever be etched in the hearts of those who had the privilege of knowing her.

 

Mary Jane was born on October 16, 1929, in the heart of Indianola, Mississippi, to her doting parents, the late Henry Hart and Catherine (Moore) Hart. As the second of fourteen children, she shouldered the responsibilities of leadership within her family from an early age, shaping her into the strong and compassionate woman we came to know and love.

 

Cooking was not merely a passion for Mary Jane; it was an art form. Her culinary creations were a testament to the love she poured into her family and friends. Those fortunate enough to taste her dishes were forever touched by her culinary genius. Her journey into the world of cooking began at the tender age of eight when she stood on a stool to prepare meals for the clergy at St. Mathis Church in Indianola. It was also at this church, in 1939, that she accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior and was baptized, a pivotal moment in her life that laid the foundation for her unwavering faith.

 

Mary Jane's deep connection with God was the guiding light throughout her life. She often shared stories of her spiritual journey, emphasizing how her relationship with the Almighty gave her the strength to overcome life's challenges. Proverbs 3:5-6 and Lamentations 3:22-23, with their messages of faith and steadfastness, were verses that resonated deeply within her heart.

 

In 1946, Mary Jane married John Wesley Bingham, and together, they embarked on a journey that spanned 25 years. She was blessed with nine children: Johnnie Mae, Orlester "Les," Geraldine “Jeri”,  Benny Earl, Katherine "Peach," Gloria Steen, Larry Wesley, Eva Belinda, and Kerry Luzell. Eventually, the family relocated to Kansas City, Missouri in 1969, where they would later part ways, marking the end of this chapter in her life. However, Mary Jane's heart was destined for love once more when she met and married Nelson Akins after moving to Indianapolis. Their 17-year marriage was filled with joy and love, after Nelson's passing, Mary Jane often said, "My only boyfriend is Jesus."

 

Mary Jane's thirst for knowledge and her commitment to mentoring others were evident in both her professional and spiritual pursuits. Although her formal education was curtailed when she left school early to help support her family in the cotton fields, her love for reading never waned. She immersed herself in the word of God, becoming known for her remarkable ability to recite and share scripture with others. Her journey led her to work as a cook in various restaurants, where her famous apple crunch, peach cobbler and sweet potato pie were crowd favorites.

 

At an early age, she served as secretary of St. Mathis MBC in Indianola, MS. She went on to be secretary at Rosehill MBC in Greenville, MS for 25 years. She continued to serve in ministry at Skylight MBC in Kansas City, MO. In 1971, Mary Jane earned a Certificate in Bible Interpretation from Western Baptist Bible College in Kansas City, Missouri, a testament to her dedication to understanding and spreading God's word. She went on to earn several other certificates pertaining to church ministry. 

 

Mary Jane faithfully gave of her time, talent, and treasure.  She later joined Greater Morning Star in Indianapolis, IN, Good Samaritan Church in Orlando, FL and Antioch MBC in Muncie IN, and Mt Pisgah, in Kokomo IN.  Over the course of memberships, she held several leadership positions including, Sunday School Teacher, Vacation Bible School Teacher, Baptist Training Union, Prayer meeting organizer, Prayer Warriors, Sisters of Help ministry, Women’s ministry, and loved sharing her testimony through door-to-door witnessing. 

 

In 1993, she achieved a Child Development Associate (CDA) Certificate from Ivy Tech, further exemplifying her commitment to nurturing young minds. For five years, she lovingly taught preschool at Disciples of Christ in Muncie, Indiana, before returning to her culinary passion at Greater Morning Star in Indianapolis, where she eventually retired in 2000.

 

Upon retiring, Mary Jane relocated to Kokomo, Indiana, and joined Mt. Pisgah Missionary Baptist Church. Here, she continued to inspire others through her teaching, serving as a Sunday School primary class instructor and leading vacation Bible School. She also held the esteemed position of president of the Retirees and was an active Senior Missionary Member.  

 

Mary Jane’s remarkable life was a testament of boundless love and enduring strength. She was preceded in death by John Wesley Bingham, Nelson Akins, her sons Orlester “Les”, Benny Earl and Nelson Akins, Jr., and her parents, Henry and Catherine Hart, along with her sisters: Jeanette Hart, Ernestine Waite, Claudette Brown, Prestine Hart, and Vernell Hart, and her brothers: Charlie Hart, Elbert Hart, Jonathan Hart, Cleveland Hart, Otis Hart, Leo Hart, and Wardell Hart.

 

Mary Jane leaves behind a legacy of love and faith. She is survived by her sister, Inell Edwards and her children: Johnnie Mae Banks, Geraldine “Jeri” Wigfall (Clint), Katherine “Peach” Brown, Gloria Steen Robinson, Larry Wesley Bingham, Eva Belinda Pace, and Kerry Luzell Ellison (Leslie) and Billy Lee Akins (Marie). She was also the beloved grandmother of 33, a Great-Grandmother of 90, a Great-Great-Grandmother of 44, and a Great-Great-Great Grandmother of 3, as well as a loving aunt and cousin to many more who all live on to share her story with generations to come. Her impact is immeasurable, and her memory will forever be cherished in our hearts.

 

Her life serves as a shining example of what unwavering spiritual strength can achieve. As we bid her farewell, we remember our mother, grandmother, mentor, and friend as a beacon of wisdom, and a woman of exceptional character, love, and devotion.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mrs. Mary Jane Akins, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Saturday, October 14, 2023

9:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Mt. Pisgah Missionary Baptist Church

1599 E Sycamore St, Kokomo, IN 46901

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Funeral Service

Saturday, October 14, 2023

11:00am - 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

Mt. Pisgah Missionary Baptist Church

1599 E Sycamore St, Kokomo, IN 46901

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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