The Rev. Dr. Ralph J. Aker was the youngest of six children born to the late Samuel Jones Aker and Josie Leslie Hite Colbert Aker on May 25, 1936, on what was to become known as Aker’s Acres, Jackson County. Ralph turned his life over to the Lord at an early age and joined the Sardis Presbyterian Church. After graduating from Johnstown High School, he matriculated at Morris Brown College in Atlanta and received a degree in science. Rev. Aker met and married the love of his life, Annie F. Hopkins. The two were married on December 23, 1962, and to this union were born two children, Ralphetta Glenneze and Athena Frederica.
He continued his educational pursuit at Tuskegee University where he completed Master Degrees in science. Ralph continued his teaching career in the Jefferson/Jackson County school system; however in April 1972 he yielded to the call of the Lord and entered Columbia Theological Seminary. He was ordained and installed as a minister of the word and sacrament in 1975 and served his home church Sardis Presbyterian for six years.
In 1980 Rev. Aker moved with his family to Orlando where he would serve the Washington Shores Presbyterian Church as pastor for 24 years. During this time the call of the Lord was clear and Ralph served the congregation with diligence and compassion. He served as pastor of this congregation until he received “Honorable Retirement” on July 29, 2004.
Ralph’s work in the larger church included serving as moderator of Central Florida Presbytery in 1987. In the community, Ralph served in the City of Orlando Civil Service Board, Orange County Public Schools Additions Board, member of the Senior Resource Alliance, as a school volunteer and first grade classroom assistant.
Rev. Aker served as Interim Pastor of College Park Presbyterian church for 10 months in 2005 and supply/guest pastor for a number of congregations throughout the Presbytery. He continued to be a member of good standing with the Orlando Rotary Club.
Ralph’s heart was spending time with family and friends. He loved to laugh.
Survivors include his wife, Annie; daughters, Ralphetta and Anthena; son-in-law, LeMoyne; grandchildren, Curtis and Alicia; sister-cousin, Gwen; a host of cousins, nieces and nephews; so many daughter and sons and mothers and fathers in Christ.
Funeral services will be held Thursday, November 4, in the following manner:
11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Viewing at Mitchell’s Funeral Home, Orlando
2:30 p.m. – Interment at Woodlawn Cemetery, Orlando
4:00 p.m. – Witness to the Resurrection Service – Washington Shores Presbyterian Church with reception to follow, 3600 Rogers Drive.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made to the Washington Shores Presbyterian Church Youth Scholarship Fund.
Mitchell’s Funeral Home, Orlando, is in charge of arrangements.