|Birth: ||Jun. 6, 1927|
Gainesville (Cooke County)
|Death: ||Feb. 17, 2011|
Garland (Bowie County)
Born on June 6, 1927, Ernest Foster Ackley, affectionately known as "Pete", "Grandad", "Uncle Pete", "Coach Ackley" and "Papay" by those who knew him best, passed peacefully at his home in Garland, TX on Thursday, February 17, 2011. Son of George Henry Ackley and Nancy Betts of Gainesville, TX, Pete entered into the presence of his Lord and Savior at the age of 83, after a long and courageous battle with Parkinson's disease.
Pete graduated from North Dallas High School in 1944, then left Texas to attend the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (BIOLA) where he met the love of his life, Sadie Marie Kooistra whom he married on December 17, 1948. Upon graduating from BIOLA, Pete and his beloved Sadie sailed to Africa where they served with Sudan Interior Mission (SIM) for over 40 years. They passed through the Suez Canal and arrived in Port Said, Sudan in December, 1949. From there they traveled to Khartoum, where they studied Arabic for a year before heading to the southern part of Sudan.
Pete demonstrated his servant heart by running clinics, schools, building homes and churches with only local supplies, anything he could do to address both the physical and spiritual needs of the people. He worked at a leper colony, an orphanage, and in any capacity in which he was needed. In 1963 all expatriates were ordered to leave Sudan, so he took his family to Ethiopia, where his 3 oldest children attended boarding school. He served briefly in Aden before crossing the continent in 1965 to serve as Hospital Administrator at a large mission station, ELWA (Eternal Love Winning Africa) in Monrovia, Liberia.
In 1980, after 15 years in Liberia, he was asked to return to Sudan, to help with the displaced refugees (many from the areas he had served in the south almost two decades previously), who had fled to Khartoum, forced from their homes by the war, that was hidden from the outside world until 2000.
In 1989, after 40 years in Africa, with only brief visits to the USA, Pete and Sadie retired to Garland, Texas, where they made a home not only for their family from whom they had been separated often, but their home continued to be a refuge for hurting and displaced people, for Africans, missionaries, and missionary kids – who had a very special place in Pete's heart.
Pete had the unique gift of making each person he encountered feel special. He also enjoyed and related well to all people, regardless of his age. His love of sports, particularly baseball, led him to form a baseball league in Liberia which resulted in many special relationships with Americans and Liberians alike. Even today, when people from the USA visit Liberia they are asked if they know Coach Ackley. A contingency of these "boys" will come from all across America to join the family in celebrating his life.
"Uncle" Pete also was known for his backyard flag football games on the beach of ELWA. He made sure everyone, regardless of talent, was allowed to play. Monday night volleyball was another event at which Pete was a central figure and is frequently cited as a favorite memory of those who shared that beautiful piece of land on the Atlantic Ocean in Monrovia.
Pete was proceeded in death by his beloved wife, Sadie, an infant son, George Henry, his parents, his brothers, George Henry (Bill) Ackley and Karl Frank Ackley; sisters Helen Pearson and Katherine Louise Matthews.
Pete is survived by son Philip Foster Ackley and wife Marie of Jacksonville, Florida; daughter Nancy Jean Ackley Ruth of Garland, Texas; son Richard (Dick)Travis Ackley and wife Margaret Todd of Garland; son Steven James Ackley and wife Dolores Shuler of Garland; and daughter Karen Marie Kern and husband, Paul; as well as much loved and cherished grandchildren: Michelle, Scott, and Rachel Ackley; Michael and Rachel Ruth, Jenny and Nick Shoffner, and Christy and Chris Fountain; Jeff Ackley and Kristen Ackley, Elizabeth Ackley, Rebecca Ackley, Matthew Ackley, and Ben Ackley; Tyler and Sara Kern, Travis Kern and Traci Kern. He was so proud of these grandchildren and spent much of his retirement years enjoying them! Pete also had 6 great-grandchildren, whom he dearly loved: Nolan, Reagan, Grace and Payton Ruth and Dalton and Macy Shoffner.
Anyone who spent more than 2 minutes with Pete heard about every one of these, his cherished children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He also has many others who claim his as their dad, due to his investment in their lives. Pete joined Scofield Memorial Church as a pre-teen and was a faithful member until his death. There will be a celebration of his life held on Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 10am at Scofield Church at 7730 Abrams Road in Dallas. The family will receive visitors from 5 to 7pm Friday, February 25 at the same location, following a private burial. For more information, please contact Scofield Church 214-349-6043.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests consideration of donations to the following ministry projects which were close to Pete's heart:
SD 82490: Sudan Relief Contingency LR 95207: ELWA Hospital Renovation (Liberia) You can do that at https://usanet.sim.org/SIMGift/projects.php or by writing to SIM USA; PO Box 7900
Or to Scofield Memorial Church, Missions Mail to SMC, 7730 Abrams Road, Dallas, TX 75231
Sadie Marie Kooistra Ackley (1927 - 2001)
Created by: Thomas NeVille Tippets
Record added: Apr 22, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 68776458