Born in Orlando, Florida, January 30, 1930, he was the son of the late Frances Norman and Joseph Alexander Akerman, Sr. A graduate of Orlando High School in 1948, Akerman then graduated from the University of Florida in 1952. He studied art in Paris, France at the Grande Chaumere in 1956. He received a Master’s degree from Rollins College in 1965. His academic honors include a Fulbright Fellowship to British Columbia, Canada where he taught in 1967-68 and a fellowship from the Institute of Southern History at the Johns Hopkins University where he studied history and received an advanced degree in 1969-70.
Joe started teaching at North Florida Jr. College in 1965, retiring in 2003 after teaching several generations of students in the six-county area. He was an avid Gator fan and was proud of the scholarship monies he helped raise for students attending the University of Florida. His honors at NFJC include awards for his scholarship work in his writings and his lectures around the state.
While teaching at NFJC, Joe began a part of his life that became very important to him – that was his association with the Florida Cattlemen and their families. In 1976, the Florida Cattleman’s Association published his first book, Florida Cowman, a History of the Florida Cattle Industry. This was followed by American Brahman in 1982 for the American Brahman Association of Houston, Texas, and in 2003 he and son Mark collaborated on Jacob Summerlin, King of the Crackers, which was published by the Florida Historical Society. This book won the Carlton Tebeau award for the outstanding history book in 2005. In 2004, Akerman received the Dorothy Dodd award for lifetime achievement by the Florida Historical Society. He wrote numerous articles, and gave lectures all over Florida on these books and Florida history in general.
Joe’s memberships include the Republican State Committeeman for Madison County; Gideons International; Charter member of the Cracker Cattle Association; the Florida Cattleman’s Association; the Florida Humanities Council; Madison County Historical Society; founding member of the Treasures of Madison County; and the Florida Historical Society. Akerman was an outdoorsman who loved quail hunting with his boyhood buddies, friends, and son Mark and grandson Cole.
Joe was an active member of First United Methodist Church in Madison where he taught a Sunday School class, the “Misfits” and was Chairman of Missions for many years. Akerman served in the U. S. Air Force Reserve out of Homestead, Florida for a short time.
Akerman married the love of his life, Princess, in 1958. Their children are Joseph Mark Akerman (Angie), Gainesville, FL; and Amy J. Hutcheson (Brad), Tallahassee, FL. His beloved grandchildren are Cole and Emma Akerman, Gainesville, FL. He was predeceased by his mother, Frances Norman Connelly, father Joseph Alexander Akerman, Sr., and his step-father Albert P. Connelly, Jr. He was also by his brother, Albert P. Connelly, III (Judy), Asheville, NC; sister, Shane Connelly, Eustis; brother Michael Connelly, Vero Beach; brother Michael Akerman (Lynn), Portland, OR; brother-in-law, Paul R. Jordan, Tulsa, OK; cousin, Hugh Akerman, Clarksville, Tenn.; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Funeral services are 11:00 a.m.,Wednesday, July 20, 2011 at First United Methodist Church, Madison, Florida with interment in Oak Ridge Cemetery, Madison. The family will receive friends 6:00 untill 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at T. J. Beggs, Jr. & Sons Funeral Home in Madison.(850)973-2258. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to the First United Methodist Church of Madison (348 SW Rutledge St., Madison, FL 32340) and its mission program, or the Gideons International.