“Tom”, age 62, of Nashville, TN, went to be with his heavenly father after a short battle with cancer on June 15, 2017 at Alive Hospice in Nashville with his loving family by his side. He was born July 29, 1954 in Chicago, IL and is preceded in death by his parents Curtis and Nevelin Akers. Although born in Chicago, Tom’s family moved to West Nashville where they settled and his family has lived since. He was married to Betty Jean Hyde on December 13, 1974 and enjoyed 42 years of marriage. He is survived by his adoring wife Betty, the love of his life, and his two admiring sons Wayne (Beth) and Tim (Kate). Tom (Papa) was blessed with 3 grandchildren whom he loved dearly, Matthew, Riley, and Claire. He is also survived by his siblings, Jack (Donna) and Brenda McConnell.
From Member Randy Shemin
I met Tom (and Richard) over 15 years ago in the Bellevue area when they started the Bellevue Cruise-In, which I believe was the first event of its type in our area. I’d never heard the term “cruise-in”, and now it seems like there’s one everywhere throughout middle Tennessee. I consider those cruise-ins to be a perpetuation of Tom’s legacy.
I assisted with the cruise-in from time to time, until interest waned and Tom’s time constraints, lack of reliable volunteers and the eventual closing of the Bellevue Mall sealed the fate of the cruise-in several years ago.
I served on the Board of the Battlefield AACA when Tom was President at his urging about 5 years ago. I worked alongside him and a few others (Paul Collins and Richard Berg among them) several years ago to put on the highly successful 140 car Music City BBQ Festival car show downtown, when the organizers allowed our group to basically shut down 5 city blocks and have free rein over the entire area for the show. It was a testament to his faith and trust in me to ask for my help on that event, and to subsequently be asked to be a founding member (and still Secretary) for the Music City AACA, which was first discussed in April, 2014 at KARS4KIDS, and came to fruition only two short months later.
When Tom decided to do something, he made it happen and was not shy about asking others to help, and pretty much wanted it done his way, which in retrospect, most often turned out to be the right way. While some people might consider all of this “car club stuff’ to be “work”, Tom always said “if it’s not fun, we’re not doing it”. I feel as he did that we not only serve our members, but represent them, our club, and the AACA as well. He was equally adamant that any show that our club produces or was involved in have a charitable component so we could share our passion while giving back to our community.
He was always receptive and eager in helping other clubs and organizations with their events, and for two years organized meetings of all of the area middle Tennessee AACA clubs Presidents (pictured below) on a quarterly basis to foster better relationships and cooperation among them. Disappointingly, in Tom’s absence, those meetings have not continued.
It was an honor and privilege to work alongside Tom and our other Board members and members to help grow our club from its inception only three short years ago, and still is. The satisfaction of promoting our club, our hobby and our passion does not get old.
The last year without Tom’s participation has been difficult, but we know he had issues far more important than a car club to work through, and appreciate knowing his priorities were in the right order… taking care of his family, himself, and his business.
I think I can speak again for Richard Berg, and for members George Dodd, Jerry Dyer, Mark and Rhonda Delk, Paul Collins, and the many participants (almost all of our members it seems at one time or another), friends and volunteers who help, as well as the staff of the Williamson County Parks and Recreation Department, for everyone’s part in the success of the KRIS KRINGLE KAR KLASSIC that Tom started 14 years ago. Richard and I stepped in last year in Tom’s absence, and will do so again this year to honor Tom and continue the great tradition this show has become thanks to the groundwork (and hard work) Tom and others put into it for 12 years. It is THE GRAND FINALE of the car show season, as it is held in November, and hopefully will continue for many years to come in his honor. The KRIS KRINGLE show will always be Tom’s show.
The lunch that Richard and I shared with Tom at his invitation only three short weeks ago was time together I’ll always cherish. Having not seen Tom for about a year and with only a few short phone conversations during that period, it offered the three of us an opportunity to “close the loop” on our relationship that unfortunately was cut far too short.
Rest in peace Tom.
You are and will be missed,
and I offer a heartfelt thank you
for everything you did for us!