If you met Calvin Akins, it was likely you were going to have a talk with him.

“He would have a conversation with anyone he came across,” said son Marc. “He was very sociable, very funny, and very charismatic. If anybody had any trouble, he always took time to help.”

A veteran of the Army, Mr. Akins was especially fond of visiting local Veterans Affairs hospitals or facilities and interacting with other vets. He liked to thank them for their service, high-five them as they walked by, and salute them with a smile.

“He especially liked to look in on those vets that were having trouble,” his son said. “He liked to make people feel special.”

Mr. Akins, 73, died Friday, Aug. 7, of complications due to COVID-19 at the VA’s Community Living Center in the University City section.

A proud graduate of Overbrook High School, Mr. Akins made sure his son also attended Overbrook so he could experience the same sense of achievement and pride. After his time in the Army, Mr. Akins graduated from Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science, now Thomas Jefferson University.

Mr. Akins always found time for other veterans.
Courtesy of the family
Mr. Akins always found time for other veterans.

He worked as a city inspector for Philadelphia for 17 years, and later as a notary, tax preparer, and carpet installer.

The oldest of 10 children, Mr. Akins doted on his son, and nieces and nephews. He taught many of them how to drive and enjoyed their visits to the zoo. He took his son to the movies on many weekends, and he always made time to play the slots and poker at local and Atlantic City casinos.

Mr. Akins and his son loved to watch Sanford and Son on TV together. Redd Foxx, who played Fred Sanford on the show, was his favorite actor. They also watched Eagles and Phillies games.

“He was so outgoing, and he used humor to solve everything,” his son said.

Mr. Akins liked to play the slots and poker at the local and Atlantic City casinos.
Courtesy of the family
Mr. Akins liked to play the slots and poker at the local and Atlantic City casinos.

Late in life, Mr. Akins became attached to the nurses and doctors who cared for him at the VA hospital, and he held a special place in his heart for “Nurse Beverly,” whom he called “Mom.”

“He was an all-around good father,” Marc Akins said.

In addition to his son, Mr. Akins is survived by former wife Barbara, seven of his nine siblings, and many nieces and nephews and other relatives.

Gary Miles, gmiles@inquirer.com