Landscapes 09


Rupert Carlton Adkins

January 29, 1937 ~ December 7, 2018 (age 81)

Rupert Carlton Adkins, our beloved father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, and friend, passed away peacefully on December 7, 2018, surrounded by his three children and his grandson, Nathaniel. He was born in Logan, West Virginia on January 29, 1937 to parents Rupert Lionel Adkins and Sharlot Quietus Mays. He married Virgilene Hatfield on May 9, 1958. She preceded him in death on April 25, 2018.

Rupert was the second of five children, including three brothers and one sister, all born during the Great Depression and subsequent World War II era. Although times were often hard, he always spoke of his youth in West Virginia with great fondness and enjoyed sharing many fascinating stories with his children. After his father passed away suddenly while Rupert was still a teenager, he felt a strong obligation to look out for his mother and younger siblings and maintained that protective impulse throughout his life.

Rupert had the good fortune of marrying his high school sweetheart, Virgie, whom he loved deeply. He often spoke about seeing a beautiful blonde country girl walking around barefoot in the old neighborhood and thinking to himself, “I’m going to marry her.” After two years of courtship, which consisted of jitterbug dancing, drive-in diners, and cruising in his souped-up 1956 Ford, they were married in Lebanon, Virginia.

Shortly after the marriage, Rupert joined the Army reserves and was stationed for a period of time at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. He loved his country and felt it his obligation to support the nation during a time when it had again become embroiled in world conflicts in the post World War II era. He served with honor in his military duties.

In 1962, shortly after the birth of his first son, David, Rupert decided to move his young family to Los Angeles in the hope that he might be able to pursue a career in law enforcement. A few months later, he entered the L.A. County Sheriff’s Academy and became a deputy sheriff, beginning a 27-year career with the department, in which he served as patrol deputy, watch commander, and detective sergeant. Over the years, he garnered a reputation as a highly-skilled officer who was tough, but fair-minded and always a straight-shooter. He took great satisfaction in the many opportunities to help people afforded by his chosen career and loved the sense of brotherhood and camaraderie he shared with his fellow officers, with whom he maintained strong bonds of affection throughout his life.

In his spare time, Rupert loved being in his garage and working with his hands. He could build or fix anything, even going so far as making his own tools at times. In his youth, he had aspired to become an engineer, but his family circumstances did not allow him to attend college at that time, so he mastered many crafts on his own, including auto mechanics, carpentry, welding and metalwork, plumbing, concrete and masonry. He employed many of these skills to build a beautiful family room addition on his Lakewood, California home. He loved teaching these skillsto his children and would often employ his many talents to help support them in completing their scouting and school projects.

Rupert loved automobiles, and he owned many stylish cars in his youth, including 1950 and 1956 Ford sedans and the 1960 Chevrolet Impala in which he drove his young family out west in search of a better life and more stable career opportunities. The mechanical skills that he acquired as a young man were put to good use in tuning and souping up his cars for increased performance. He loved automobile racing and would often take his boys to Lions Drag Strip or Riverside Raceway in Southern California so they could experience the excitement of drag racing competitions and stock car races. He leveraged his skills to help his sons restore some vintage cars when they received their driver’s licenses, and later, soup up the muscle cars they owned in the 70’s.

Rupert loved spending time with his family, including camping trips to the mountains and deserts of California, fishing at some of his favorite locations, father and son campouts sponsored by his church, and target shooting competitions with his children. He was an excellent shot and thoroughly enjoyed teaching his children sound marksmanship skills and firearm safety.

One of the things that Rupert loved the most was vacationing with family. His children remember with great fondness the weeks spent in the family car crossing the United States, taking in the beauty of the country and visiting its many historical sites. Each vacation featured a different cross-country route, allowing them to see everything from the majesty of Mount Rushmore to the bayous of the deep south, and from the deserts and plains of the west and midwest to the monuments of the nation’s capital. Being on vacation with Rupert and Virgilene was always an exciting adventure for their children, producing lifelong memories that they will forever cherish.

Rupert served as a scoutmaster for several years and was a revered mentor, teaching the boys who were fortunate enough to have him as their leader many life skills and a strong sense of discipline that benefitted them immensely in their formative years. He loved the scouting program and worked tirelessly, in partnership with his beloved wife, to help his boys achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.

Rupert loved the game of football and was a big fan of the University of Southern California. For many years, he enjoyed a good-natured rivalry with his Ohio State Buckeye-loving brothers-in-law in Ohio, especially when the two teams would meet in the Rose Bowl, as they often did in the 70’s and 80’s. One year, he went so far as to dress the family’s dachshund, which was a gift from the Ohio relatives, in a homemade USC football uniform, complete with a helmet crafted from a child’s plastic play ball, in USC colors, of course. After his three children attended Brigham Young University, he became an equally big BYU football fan and never missed an opportunity to watch a game. His family always loved the times spent together rooting for his beloved Cougars.

Later in life, the family welcomed a daughter, Jennifer, whom Rupert loved and cherished. In his second round of child rearing, he could often be found sitting with his daughter in his favorite chair watching detective shows, helping her with her many science fair projects, waiting up at night for her to return home, and working together with her in the family garden. And if you worked for Rupert at the sheriff station, by direct order form the Detective Sergeant, you had no choice but to buy Girl Scout Cookies from his daughter. True to tradition, he employed his many talents to build the ultimate playhouse for Jenny, complete with removable walls for easy transport, screened windows, linoleum flooring, and even electricity. It was so well built that it lasted more than 20 years sitting out in the elements, being enjoyed throughout that time by many of his grandchildren. When Jenny turned 16, Rupert traded in his beloved Camaro to get her a 4WD truck that would keep her safe when she drove in the Utah winters. She’ll always remember that very tough act of love for a devoted car guy. Other fond memories from Jenny include Rupert’s delicious Christmas fudge, going to the Sizzler with the family, grilling on the patio, and listening to stories about growing up in West Virginia on Grandmother’s back porch. Rupert was a lifelong member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, always firmly backing his family in their spiritual pursuits, including loving support of his two sons during their time spent as missionaries, and unwavering spiritual support of his wife and daughter throughout their lives. Rarely would a day go by in which he failed to express his love to his family.

Rupert is survived by his brothers, Virgil Adkins and Melvin Adkins, his sister, Sharolyn Crowther, three children, David Adkins (Heidi), Mark Adkins (Nina), and Jennifer Alton (Jeff), ten grandchildren, and one great grandchild. He was preceded in death by his parents, Rupert Adkins and Sharlot Mays, his brother, Jackson Adkins, and his sweetheart, Virgie.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, December 15 at 11 am at the Sundberg-Olpin Funeral Home chapel at 495 S. State St. in Orem, Utah. There will be a public viewing at the funeral home from 9:30 am to 10:45 am prior to the services. Interment will be at the Provo City Cemetery. Rupert’s family wishes to express gratitude to the staff of Timpanogos Hospital who provided for his care in his final days. Condolences may be shared here and at Rupert’s We Remember site: . In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations to law enforcement charities or Alzheimer’s research, since Rupert’s beloved Virgie passed from that disease.

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