Rev. John Shelley Akers III

November 11, 1932April 17, 2014
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After a lifetime of serving God, The Reverend John Shelley Akers, III joined his heavenly Father on Thursday, April 17, 2014, at approximately 1:00 p.m. Rev. Akers was born on November 11, 1932, in Lexington, Kentucky.

John served in the Army, attended Transylvania University where he was a member of the Kappa Alpha Fraternity, then graduated from the University of Louisville. He was called to the ministry and graduated from the Episcopal Theological Seminary in Lexington, Kentucky. Rev. Akers touched lives across the country and gave his life to God serving in the following roles and churches; as Vicar of St. Phillips in Harrodsburg, Kentucky (where he met his wife Sandy); as Asst. to the Rector at The Church of the Good Shepherd in Lexington, Kentucky; as Rector of St. Peter’s in Paris Kentucky; at St. Michael and All Angels in Dallas, Texas, where he was on staff as well as Chaplain of the school. In 1984 he continued his ministry in Greensboro, NC, where he was on staff at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church until his retirement. He was the first Chaplain and a recipient of The Distinguished Service Award at Canterbury School and continued his ministry until very recently, serving as Chaplain at Wellspring Retirement Community. For over 60 years, he touched thousands of lives, carrying his message of God’s grace, hope, and love.

Rev. Akers dedicated his life to serving others as a son, friend, father, grandfather, Chaplain, coach, Saint, and inspiration to countless people. Believing everyone was a child of God, he spent his 60 years advocating for diversity and inclusion.

His life will celebrated at a place he dearly loved, The Canterbury School Phillips Chapel, at 5400 Old Lake Jeanette Rd., Greensboro, NC 27455 at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 26, 2014. A reception will follow the service and the family will receive friends. A private family inurnment will take place at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church prior to the memorial service at the school.

In addition to his parents, John was preceded in death by his daughter, Aimee Akers Norman.

Those left to cherish his memory include his beloved wife of 50 years (this August 8th), Sandy of the home; his sons, John (wife Keisha), Alex, his son-in-law, John Norman; and six grandchildren, Allie and Katie Norman, Owen, Olivia, Harrison, and Hines Akers, all of Charlotte, NC. One of Father Akers’ favorite books was “14,000 Things To Be Happy About”. We can all add one more thing to that list and that is, we all had a chance to know and learn from John Akers. He lived his life exemplifying the message in a note he received from Mother Theresa, “Be only all for Jesus”.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Canterbury School, or to Wellspring Retirement Community Benevolence Fund.

Online condolences may be made at


  • Memorial Service Saturday, April 26, 2014

Rev. John Shelley Akers III

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Tabatha Thomas

September 17, 2014

Dear Family of John Akers,
Please know what a great difference your father and really all of you have made in so many people's lives. I think of him so often, have taught my daughter about what he taught me, and am sorry that I never contacted him to say these things. But please know that I remember so much from his religion classes in 4th through 6th grade and from the wonderful services in the chapel that he led. I loved his stories about Old Artebin, hearing him say the Prayer of St. Francis and singing "I Wonder as I Wander." Sandy, you taught me too in 8th grade English at ESD... such a sweet person. I was in trouble once, and you were so kind... I kissed your son, John IV, 20 times on the cheek in one day in 2nd grade on a dare. I have so much love in my heart for your family, and though my family life was hard, it was so nice to know of a family like yours, who made "sense." I wonder if he thought of Brian Exall at all, because he told us at the time how natural it is to be afraid of death but how bravely Brian faced it. So much love and admiration I have for one of the greatest teachers (and examples) I ever had. I can see from the photo that he remained youthful and looked just as I remember. He was such a gift in the world. I'll be praying for you all.

Alex Moreland Blaine

May 1, 2014

Dear Akers family,
We are sorrowful yet celebrating John's passing with you as we look to Jesus as our Way, our Truth and our Way.

Kim Shaw

April 25, 2014

There are not many sweeter and more beautiful people in this world than John. I am so sorry we will not be in town for the services. You are all in my prayers. Much love to you all.

April 24, 2014

I am sorry for your loss. Father Akers was very kind to me when I was at St. Michaels school. He could sense my depression when my parents divorced. He was always available when I needed someone to speak with. For that I am eternally grateful.

John Harvey (Dallas, Tx.)

John Grigsby

April 24, 2014

Sandy, you are once again in my thoughts and prayers. May God be with you and yours in this time of loss.

Clifford Denny

April 22, 2014

Sandy, I was so sorry to learn of John's death in notification from Good Shepherd. I arrived at Good Shepherd from the Army in January 1966.
I remember John well, always of bright disposition. Those were times I cherish. Cliff Denny

Penny Lastinger

April 22, 2014

Sandy, you and John have been in our hearts for so many years, and I'll always be thankful for his wonderful friendship with my aged mother in Paris. We love you.

Dorinda Elliott

April 22, 2014

Sandy, you and John were two of my special patients and he will really be missed. He has been an inspiration for me through the years. Love, Dorinda Elliott (Dr, Houston's nurse)

Send me your in my thoughts and prayers sweetheart.

April 22, 2014

Sandy you are my thoughts and prayers sweetheart.
Much love to all the family.I

April 21, 2014


So sorry to hear of your loss. May the Lord console you. Anne Shannon McClellan Williams