Helen Elizabeth Coleman Akard

26 December, 191728 February, 2023
Obituary of Helen Elizabeth Coleman Akard


Berry Funeral Home

Helen Coleman Akard, age 105, left her earthly home on February 28, 2023 after living a full and rewarding life in South Knoxville, TN. Helen was born on December 26, 1917 to Ollie A. and Mayme Ruggles Coleman. She graduated from Knoxville High School and Draughon’s Business College. Helen entered the world of banking in 1941 at Knoxville’s Park National Bank on Gay Street and remained there in the office of consumer loans through the acquisitions and mergers of three other banks – First American, AmSouth and finally, Regions Bank. Helen retired in 2011 as Regions’ Senior Loan Officer after seventy years of valued service. Helen was a lifelong member of Island Home Baptist Church. She was active in the South Knoxville Optimist Club and was supportive of their many community projects. Helen loved the outdoors, spending weekends at the family cabin on Norris lake boating, swimming and fishing. Helen loved to travel, often accompanying her “baby brother”, John H. Coleman, on his RV adventures to UT football games, weekends in Tunica, MS and vacations to various beaches. As a young woman, Helen enjoyed riding motorcycles and exploring the Smoky Mountains with her friends. She celebrated her 105th birthday with a neighborhood ride provided by a local Harley Davidson Club and proclaimed it to be “the best day of my life”. Anyone who knew Helen remembered her as a true fashionista and was awed by her many stylish suits and dresses, matching high heels and classy jewelry. While petite in size, Helen maintained a larger-than-life impression on all who met her. Her warm, nurturing nature and her ability to listen and put everyone at ease earned her the nickname of the “Mother of Park Bank”. Helen was an eternal optimist and shied away from conflict and negativity. Her encouraging mantra, “it will all work out”, guided her decisions to the end. Helen is preceded in death by her husband of thirty years, Don Akard of Chuckey, TN.; parents, Ollie A. and Mayme Coleman; and her brother, John H. Coleman and his wife Ruth Beaver Coleman. While she leaves behind no living relatives, she is survived by countless faithful friends, former co-workers and loving caregivers. Helen will be laid to rest on Friday, March 10, 2023 at 11:00 am during a graveside service at Woodlawn Cemetery in South Knoxville. A brunch and celebration of Helen’s remarkable life will be held on Saturday, March 11th from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm on the rooftop of the Embassy Suites, 507 S. Gay Street, which is the former Park Bank Building where Helen worked for seventy years. In lieu of flowers, it is requested that donations be made in Helen’s honor to any of her favorite charities: Children’s Hospital (2018 W. Clinch Ave. 37916), Alzheimer’s Tennessee (5801 Kingston Pk. 37919), Young-Williams Animal Center (3201 Division St. 37919) or the Lakemoor Legacy Park and Gardens (c/o Dawn Thomas, treasurer, 3310 Timberlake Dr. Knoxville, 37920). Fond memories or expressions of sympathy may be shared at

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Past Services

Friday, 10 March, 2023

Graveside Service