Well-loved member of the Colorado Springs community
Former KRCC radio announcer, Black Rose Acoustic Society board member, singer and musical enthusiast, Mill Street neighbor, tireless volunteer and community activist Lyn Akers passed away following a lengthy battle with cancer on Dec. 21, 2000.
No fading violet, Akers died exactly as she lived -- with courage, focus and determination, honestly and full of feeling.
In November, KRCC staged a mini-fund-raising drive to finance Akers' dying wish -- to go to San Diego with friends and take a boat out into the Pacific Ocean to see the migrating whales. Listeners and friends responded quickly and generously, raising around $10,000 for their favorite disc jockey. But the trip was not to be; Akers' health became too precarious for traveling.
Her good friend Phil Volan dropped into the Indy offices this week to drop off a photo of Akers, and shared some stories of her passing -- characteristically vital and filled with Akers' special brand of enthusiasm for life.
A few days before she died, said Volan, Lyn finally decided to check into Pikes Peak Hospice after relying on round-the-clock care by a network of friends over the past few months. She methodically said goodbye to her tiny Mill Street house, her many plants, the trees she had planted and nurtured, her neighbors, then boarded an ambulance.
Once on board, she asked the two ambulance drivers to drive her around town so she could see Colorado Springs one last time. They complied with a mini-tour, then helped her settle into her hospice room.
Two hours later, the drivers, who were somehow aware of her dying wish to see the whales, returned to Akers' room with a large poster of a whale which they hung near her bed, and two stuffed whales she could embrace in bed. Akers passed away shortly after, and a memorial service was held on Dec. 27 at Shove Chapel on the Colorado College campus.
But Lyn's dream of the whales was not over.
According to Volan, her friends Rick Elliott, Kathy Pullen and Sue Mosher, all instrumental in her home care and with whom she planned to travel to San Diego, went ahead with the trip and asked that the crematorium Fed Ex her ashes to them. As the story goes (a story that would have made a great folk song to be sung by no less than Lyn Akers), her friends took a boat out to sea, waited for a whale to go by, and scattered her ashes along the trail of a large ocean traveler.
Once Akers' daughters have paid the bills for her nursing care, said Volan, they plan to donate the remainder of the funds raised to someone else whose life is ending, to help make their final dream come true.
Lyn Akers would absolutely hate it if this little memoriam sounded too corny or sweet -- sweetness was not her game. Honesty, bluntness and hard work were her trademarks. One of her friends, paying tribute on the Black Rose Acoustic Society Web site characterized her as an "exasperating extrovert." And another friend, Dick Carlson of Peyton, on that same site, paid this tribute that sums her up so well:
"I first met Lyn, like most folks, on the radio. That VOICE! ... it listened like home-baked break smells! There can be no doubt that Lyn invented the hug! She didn't know how to half-step it. She was always swinging for the fences, takin' the biggest bite of the juicy old apple of life she could, worms and all. She was a humdinger!"
We will miss her.
In honor of Lyn Akers'work promoting traditional and acoustic music, the Black Rose Acoustic Society has established the Lyn Akers Scholarship, a music training scholarship for worthy applicants with an emphasis on voice. For more details, visit the Black Rose Web site at: www.blackroseacoustic.org. Donations can be sent, payable to Black Rose Acoustic Society, to: Ron Thomas, 3820 Cottage Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80920.