Pioneering O.C. Builder Edward “Ed” Akins dies at 88.
Premier Orange County homebuilder Ed Akins died Saturday, May 10th, 2014, in Newport Beach. Ed was a housing industry pioneer whose legacy of leadership, innovation, and product excellence continues to be recognized in the home building business today. While Ed will be fondly remembered industry-wide for his notable contributions, Ed will always be best defined by his roles as loving husband to his wife of 67 years, Priscilla, a consummate family man, a good story teller and a loyal friend.
Born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1925, his family migrated to Southern California in the 30’s. Ed attended L.A. High School where he met his partner in life, Priscilla. Following graduation, he volunteered for the Navy and served as Signalman First Class, with time spent on the Battleship New Jersey at the end of WWII, patrolling the South Pacific as well as the coast of South America.
After the war he returned to California to marry Priscilla and in 1947 they designed and built their first home together in the Pacific Palisades. Now hooked on home building, Ed moved his young family to Orange County to participate in the early days of the post-war building boom.
Career highlights include founding the E.B. Akins Company, heading construction for the newly formed Mission Viejo Company, and becoming founding president of Irvine Pacific for the Irvine Company. In 1974, Ed re-established the family building company with his two sons Carl and Bruce. The Akins Company became a dominant building company throughout the 80’s and 90’s, culminating in the sale of the business to Catellus Development Corporation, a major public land company. Over the course of their careers, the family has built over 10,000 homes in such major communities as Woodbridge, Turtle Rock, Mission Viejo, Aliso Viejo, Newport Coast, Rancho Santa Margarita and Rancho Bernardo.
Ed was active in his industry and community, serving the YMCA board, Indian Guides, the Tustin School Board and acting as early president for the Orange County chapter of the Building Industry Association (BIA). In 1998, he became the recipient of the BIA’s highest award for career excellence, which he proudly shared with his three children.
Ed enjoyed camping, trout fishing, boating, ranching and traveling the world to tour historic homes with his wife, Priscilla. In retirement, he became a docent for the Mission at San Juan Capistrano and the Newport Nautical Museum.
Ed is survived by his loving wife Priscilla, daughter Kathy Schwendimann, sons Carl and Bruce, their spouses, 6 grandchildren, 6 great grandchildren, brother Bob, and numerous nephews and nieces.
The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Akins’ name to Hoag Hospital.