Dr. L. B. Adkins, age 93, of Union, passed away on Monday, Nov. 2, 2020.
Services for Dr. L. B. Adkins were held at 11 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020 at First Baptist Church of Union. Burial was held in the Union City Cemetery. Dr. Jon Martin and Dr. Marcus Finch officiated.
Visitation was held 4:30-7:00 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020 at Milling Funeral Home of Union.
He was born in Neshoba County, and was proud of his Neshoba County roots. He enjoyed introducing his origins, his homeplace and its history and genealogy to anyone who was not familiar with all the great things about east central Mississippi. He graduated from County Line High School, East Central Community College and the Northern Illinois College of Optometry. Before beginning his optometric studies, he served in the Navy for two years in the medical corps.
He remained connected to the Neshoba County land itself throughout his life. He loved nothing better than when the grandchildren said, “let’s go see the cows!” He enjoyed farming, cattle raising, ambling through the woods and completing all the large and small chores of a farm. Although, he often said that one reason he became an optometrist was that he “didn’t want to walk behind a mule and chop cotton all his life.”
He loved and practiced optometry for 58 years. He believed in keeping professionally current, performing thorough eye exams and tending to the whole patient. He had many devoted patients from near and far, and if he treated someone as a patient, he remembered that patient forever. Indeed, his patients knew that he always started his eye exams with a 30-minute inquisition about themselves and their families; he wanted to establish a connection with them individually, and he had a genuine love of people. He loved his work and he worked long hours, becoming famous for mowing the grass and mending fences after hours at night.
He was connected to his fellow optometric professionals and served the MS Optometric Association and the Southern Council of Optometry in every officer capacity, including president of those organizations. He was selected ‘Optometrist of the South’ by the Southern Council of Optometry in 1990.
He was an active member of all appendant bodies of Freemasonry. He was raised as a Master mason on Feb. 22, 1951 at Golden Grove Lodge #323, in Union. He was a member of Henry Clay Lodge # 485 in Union for over 69 years. He received his 32nd degree in the Scottish Rite on Oct. 1, 1964 in Meridian, Miss. He became a Noble at Hamasa Shrine Temple on Nov. 11, 1965 and was knighted as Knight Templar in the York Rite on Oct. 12, 1996 in Meridian. He was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, Philadelphia chapter # 91.
He loved the town of Union and served it gladly. He served on Union’s Board of Aldermen for 52 years, always with an eye toward making the town of Union a better place to live. He became involved in any endeavor that he thought would benefit the town, including supporting the Union Swim & Golf Clubs as a charter member and being involved in the Lions Club for 70 years. He always looked forward to participating in the Lion’s refreshment stand at Union’s Country Day.
Beyond the town of Union, he loved politics in general, and local and state government. He was always happy to talk politics with his good friend, Judge L.B. Porter, and anyone else who would lend an ear, freely dispensing advice, whether solicited or not, and he served as a Colonel on the staffs of five different Mississippi governors.
But his greatest love was his family. His family held his heart, beginning with his parents and his sister; though his love of genealogy helped him identify countless other family members to appreciate. He suggested to his parents that they name his sister Jonquil, after his favorite flower at the time. Though they named her Jacqueline, he called her Jack – and she called him “Boy” – for the rest of their lives. He met Dixie when she came to Union in 1950 and they married in Dec. 1951, enjoying 68 years together before his passing. Together they enjoyed playing bridge with friends and many other activities - mundane and exciting - along their journey together. He loved his family and supporting the goals and activities of his children. Known for never being in a hurry, he raced down Hwy 98 to baseball games at South Alabama and was a fixture at Union high school basketball games whenever his children were playing – and for years well beyond.
In his later years, he continued to study and learn, believing that one is never too old to learn. He enjoyed time with family and friends and served others as best he could when physical limitations took their toll. He dispensed wisdom, advice and loving support from his favorite chair to children and grandchildren and continued doing so from his hospital bed. Though our earthly connection with him is now a thing of the past, our love for and spiritual connection to him remains, and we cherish the words of 1 Corinthians 13:13: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
Dr. L.B. Adkins believed in service to others and enjoyed finding the connection with those he served. He served his family, friends, patients, fellow citizens, and others in his community, church and profession through sacrificial giving. He enjoyed connecting with all of them and never met a stranger.
Dr. Adkins is preceded in death by his parents, Lois Z. and Valeria Adkins and grandson, Porter Adkins.
He is survived by his loving wife of 68 years, Dixie Adkins of Union; two sons, Dr. Bill Adkins (Renee) of Union and Bob Adkins (Melinda) of Meridian; two daughters, Dr. Nell Adkins of Hattiesburg and Ann Knight (Joe) of Sweet Home, Oregon; one sister, Jacqueline Webb of Meridian.
He is also survived by 10 loving grandchildren: Lydia Updike (Pat), Lana Chenault (Waymon), Ava Marie Harrison (Andrew), Kyle Adkins (Kaitlen), Alex Adkins, Zach Adkins (Tanja), Hayden Adkins (Madi), Adam Knight (Lea), Andrew Knight (Ashley) and Abby Winstead (Jonathan). His eldest grandchild, Porter Adkins (Faith), lives in love in the family’s hearts after his passing. His love expanded even more to include 18 great grandchildren when his grandchildren married and began having families of their own.
Pallbearers are Zach Adkins, Hayden Adkins, Kyle Adkins, Alex Adkins, Andrew Harrison, Andrew Knight, Jonathan Winstead and Joe David Knight.
Honorary Pallbearers are Union Lions Club, Union Board of Alderman, FBC Adult III Men’s’ SS Class, Henry Clay Masonic Lodge #485, Mayor Max Sessums, Mayor Wayne Welch, Benny Ware, Elton Wall, Bill Cassell, Robin Williams and Randy Breland.