Michael Martin Adkins

Date of Death: September 14, 2019

Michael Martin Adkins, 81, of Louisville, died Aug. 24, 2019. 

He was born Nov. 9, 1937, in Knoxville, Tennessee, to the late Sam and Martha Adkins. He was a retired Methodist minister and an addictions counselor at JADAC for many years. 

Mike initially went to Purdue hoping to become an engineer, but felt God’s calling to the Methodist ministry. He went to Kentucky Wesleyan, where he met his first wife, Ann May Adkins (who died in 2017) and then to Louisville Presbyterian Seminary. He served in small rural churches and later in several churches in Louisville.

He was an excellent preacher, engaging and warm, but scholarly, and willing to ruffle feathers when necessary. During this time, he and Ann adopted two gorgeous, bright, talented kids, Kenneth Paul Adkins Sr. (Elena) and Elizabeth Adkins Crane (Scott). He left the Methodist ministry in the 1970s; he and Ann also divorced during this time.

In the ‘80s he became an addictions counselor, working at JADAC for many years. During those years he gained his own recovery from the alcoholism that had ended his second marriage to Betty Thrasher. From then until his death, he remained sober (38 years) and helped hundreds of others to get and stay that way. He married Carol Hicks, and they had 14 wonderful years together before her death from leukemia.

He spent his remaining career in the people business, first as a psychotherapist and then helping people figure out the student loan system. He retired because of increasing physical problems.
He was a good, gentle and generous man, and courteous even in passionate disagreement. He always had his younger siblings and children’s backs, in large ways and small. He was a world-class writer and cook. He loved animals and never went very long between fur-kids. He shared three family passions: fishing and baseball, and in his last years greatly enjoyed gardening. He also was extraordinarily funny.

He had a splendid eye for beauty and a deep love of nature, seemed to find what he called “the Great Spirit” there and in the recovery community of which he was a part. His real religion was the one the Dalai Lama famously claimed: kindness.

Besides his son and daughter, he is survived by a sister, Martha “Rain” Adkins; seven grandchildren, Shannon Crane, Shelley Swan (Ahren), Kenny Adkins, Lloyd Adkins, Scotty Crane, Jessie Adkins and Samantha Crane; and two great-grandchildren, Susie and Lilly Swan. Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by a brother, Gerry, 

A memorial service was held Sept. 14, 2019, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Louisville.

- Submitted by the family