Mrs. Mabel C. Akin, 104, of Navasota, passed away Friday, April 17th, at The Seasons on Water Street. Due to CDC restrictions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, a private interment will take place. Memorial services will be scheduled for a later date.
Mabel was born November 19, 1915 in Paris, Texas to John L. and Elizabeth Outlaw Dickinson.
She attended Paris schools and graduated from Paris High School. Mabel married Archie L. (Al)
Barrett September 15, 1933. Two children were born to Al and Mabel—Archie Don and Carolyn Ruth.
In 1940, the family moved to Navasota where Al Barrett was a young businessman and soon active in church and civic affairs. He was a charter member of the Navasota Lions Club. After his death in 1942, Mabel chose to remain in Navasota to raise their children and continue their education in Navasota schools. Mabel became the sole supporter of her family. She first worked at J. C. Penney, then for the City of Navasota, and finally at the Mid-South Electric Cooperative for 34 years where she advanced to become the office manager. Her years as a
child of the great depression, a sometimes nearly destitute single mother, and a successful career woman made her an astute businesswoman and successful investor.
While her children were young, Mabel was active in school affairs, including the PTA. Many of their classmates, who are now senior citizens, have remained in touch with her throughout their lives and some counted their relationship with Mabel as among their most cherished.
In 1948 Mabel married Max H. Akin, a Marine Master Sergeant. They were married for 34 years until his death in 1994. Max was employed as a mail carrier and together the two came to know, and be known by, most of the residents of Navasota.
After her retirement from Mid-South Electric in 1981 Mabel became more active in support of her community. She was a member of the Garden Club and an officer of The Navasota Club; she served on the board of the Horlock History Museum. She was a devout Christian. She was a member of the First United Methodist Church for 80 years and filled a multitude of lay offices. She often became a close friend and sometimes a mentor of her pastors. She was a lifelong Democrat; she believed her party generally favored the less fortunate but that did not keep her
from taking strong exception to policies and actions with which she disagreed. She and Max served as election judges for several years. She followed public affairs closely and regretted the deep partisan divisions that characterize the current political climate.
Mabel attracted friends and admirers in her private, professional, and social interactions. Some of her closest surviving friends worked with her at Mid-South many decades ago. Until last July, she lived alone, maintained her house and yard immaculately (with some help in recent years), and drove her car (driver’s license proudly renewed at age 102). The way she lived her life independently and with great courage attracted widespread attention and she maintained an extensive correspondence with family and friends often writing humorous stories about her everyday life and experiences. When seen in public she was always groomed and dressed flawlessly, a petite fashion statement. She loved adventures and playing games. When she was 90 she donned black leather gear and took a ride around Navasota behind a friend on his
Harley-Davidson motorcycle. At age 99 when she could no longer hear the bidding, Mabel decided to quit playing bridge. Her good friend Aminuan Webb refused to allow her to do so until she was 100. Mabel continued to excel at dominoes (no hearing needed), winning far more games than she lost until the end of her life. Because her mind remained sound, until recently she was able to use her cell phone for calls and texting and the computer for email, Facebook, and playing bridge and solitaire.
Above all, Mabel was the proud matriarch of her extensive family. She bequeathed both the steel in her character and her fun-loving enjoyment of life to them. Through her example rather than by exhortation she conveyed her lofty aspiration that every member of her family
live an exemplary life. Her all-encompassing love generated the desire among her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren to emulate her life, adhere to her values, discipline their behavior, and attempt to achieve their greatest potential.
The best coda to Mabel’s obituary is a few words written by one of her great grandchildren: [I will tell my baby daughter that] her great-great-grandmother stared down challenges, almost right through them, with unmatched grace and kindness, always adapting, always smiling, and always with enough food prepared for unexpected guests and neighbors.
Mabel is survived by her son, Dr. Archie Barrett (Col, USAF, Ret.), and his wife Miriam; daughter, Carolyn Barrett Powell, and her husband Dr. James Powell; grandchildren Dr. Julie Barrett and her husband Bernard Berger, Cindy Kusenberger and her husband Bobby, Archie Barrett, Jr. and his wife Holly, John Powell and his wife Kristie, Cheryl Flemming and her husband Terri, and Lauryl Knowles and her husband Scott; fifteen great grandchildren, two great great grandchildren and, in addition, a third great great grandchild with an imminent due date who is to be christened Eliza Mabel Reed.
Mabel expressed the desire that any memorials in her name be given to the First United Methodist Church, Navasota, or to a charity of the contributor’s choice.
You are invited to leave kind words and fond memories at