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Willis Adkins

Willis Adkins of Erwin, TN went home to be with the Lord on April 14, 2020 at Governor’s Bend Assisted Living Facility. He was 86 years old. He was a son of the late Burnie and Lydia Adkins and was a native of Yancey County.

Willis was a devoted husband to his wife Lorene of 48 years and a member of Big Creek FWB Church where he served as a deacon for numerous years. After moving to Erwin, he was welcomed with love by the members of Fellowship FWB Church where he attended. Willis enjoyed working in his yard and gardening, but his true love was going to church and witnessing to people about the Lord.

Willis was a sawyer for Banco Lumber Company for 27 years and after retirement he found real joy in operating his own sawmill near his home. It became the gathering place for his friends where they laughed, told stories, and enjoyed life on Big Creek.

In addition to his parents and his wife Lorene, Willis was preceded in death by two brothers: Burnie Adkins, Jr., Gerald Adkins; one sister, Genevieve Yates, two sisters-in-law: Janice Adkins and Hazel Adkins; one brother-in-law: Ward Wilson.

Willis leaves behind to cherish his memory, his daughter, Tammy Peterson and husband Sherrill, grandson, Joshua Peterson and wife Haley, two brothers: Max Adkins, Steve Adkins and wife Judy all of Erwin; three sisters: Joanna Wilson and Gwanda Runion, both of Erwin, Bernice Miller and husband Farrell of Burnsville, NC, brother-in-law Kenneth Yates, sister-in-law, Faye Adkins, both of Erwin. Willis had a special love for Lorene’s family and considered them as his own, they are sisters-in-law: Alice Whitson, Atlas Hughes, Etta Murphy; brother-in-law, Eugene Peterson; many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends also survive.

A graveside service will be held Saturday, April 18, 2020 at 2:00 PM in the Bennett Cemetery. Reverend Roger Laws and Reverend Russell Hughes will officiate. Music will be provided by Alvin Murphy and Alan Foster. Family and friends will serve as pallbearers. Those wishing to attend are asked to meet at the pavilion below the cemetery by 1:55 PM Saturday and are welcome to sit in their cars to listen to the service.

Online condolences, photos and memories may be shared with the Adkins family through our complimentary, interactive Book of Memories at

Robert Ledford Funeral Home, 720 Ohio Avenue, Erwin, is privileged to serve the Adkins family.  (423) 743-1380.