With great sadness, we announce the passing of beloved Ernest Frederick Adkins Jr. Fred passed away in Kalispell, Montana surrounded by family and friends. Fred was a kind-hearted and loving person who touched the lives of everyone he met and will be deeply missed by his family, friends, and his Mill ʻOhana.

Born and raised in Livingston, Montana, Fred graduated from Park County High in 1962 to begin a lifelong career in the railroad in 1962. He retired from BNSF in 2004 and was a proud member of the AFL/CIO union and a vocal supporter of unions. Fred served in the Army National Guard from 1966-1971 and has spent his winters in Kona, Hawaii and summers in Kalispell, Montana for the past decade. 

Among his many interests and hobbies, he enjoyed being outside, especially in the Pacific Northwest and spent many hours pursuing a passion for the outdoors. He was an avid jogger/runner, hiker, and cyclist who enjoyed camping, kayaking, and spending time in Glacier National Park. In his retirement, Fred enjoyed discovering his artistic talents in pottery, watercolors, painting, and photography. 

Fred loved spending time with his family and countless friends. Long-time friend and fellow Donkey Mill member, David Andersen, fondly remembers time spent playing cards with Fred: “We’re going to find a table and chairs to play some poker [and leave] a seat for him. We’ll deal him a hand and take turns playing it like he would have done. He loved to play poker, which we did with him on many occasions.” Whether traveling to new places or simply spending winters in Hawaii or summers in Montana, Fred took great pride in his aloha spirit, newly-discovered vegan lifestyle, and his family, especially his children’s and grandchildren’s accomplishments.

Fred will be remembered for his kind and accepting spirit, infectious laugh, quirky sense of humor, artistic flair, and ability to make friends and connect with people. He was a true inspiration to all who knew him and his memory will live on in the hearts of those he touched.

Fred spoke softly, always friendly, generous and thoughtful. At the Mill, the ceramics studio was his playground. He spent most of his time making gifts to give as random acts of kindness. In the community, he was a great listener, an activist and always loved a pretty smile. The Mill ʻohana will miss his gentle soul. He will continue to inspire all of us to be soft, gentle, actively curious, carry a good sense of humor and to always step forward with great kindness. We love you Fred!”-Miho Morinoue, Program Director.

A celebration of Fred’s life will be held on Friday, July 21 at 3:00pm at the Village Greens Community Center in Kalispell, MT. His family will later spread his ashes in Glacier National Park and in Kona, Hawaiʻi, Fred’s two favorite places in the world.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Donkey Mill Art Center in Fred’s memory. If you would like to make a gift, you can do so online here or mail donations to: Donkey Mill Art Center, 78-6670 Mamalahoa Hwy, Holualoa, HI 96725. Please reach out to us if you have any questions info@donkeymillartcenter.org.