Nina M. Aikman aged 94 of Greenville, formerly of Honey Bend, passed away at 8:26 p.m. Friday October 23, 2020 in Greenville Nursing and Rehab in Greenville.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, October 31, 2020 at the Smithgrove Baptist Church with Pastor Matt Mendenhall officiating. Visitation will be from 9:30 a.m. until service time at the Church with social distancing and masks required. Interment will be at 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon at Honey Bend Cemetery north of Litchfield.
In lieu of flowers the family prefers memorials to the Smith Grove Baptist Church.
Nina Mildred Crawford Aikman was born January 7, 1926 to John and Nona Mitchell Crawford in Honey Bend, IL. She attended a one room schoolhouse until going to Litchfield High School, where she was Valedictorian for her class of 1944. Nina married her childhood sweetheart, Eugene Wallis Aikman, on December 22, 1946, when Gene was home on furlough from the Navy. In 1948, Nina graduated with High Honors & a GPA of 4.94, from SIU with a BS in Education.
In 1950, the Aikman’s grew roots in Greenville when they bought their home on what was then the outskirts of town. She was the Home Economics teacher at Greenville High School, and substituted many years afterwards. Nina served in the Welfare office and for Mr. Taylor in Housing.
In Dec 1967, after many applications and interviews, Nina & Gene adopted their first daughter, Patricia Marie.
Nina was active in many organizations. She was chosen as a state delegate to the National 4-H Club Congress and even met Gene Autry. While at SIU, she was active with the Baptist Student Union and continued going to their reunions for many years. Nina met many of her lifelong friends through Southern Baptist Women’s Missionary Union (WMU), and Farm Bureau Home Extension. Her devotion was truly seated at Smith Grove Baptist Church where she served as Sunday School teacher, Vacation Bible School teacher & volunteer, Church Librarian, Deacon’s wife, and often sang in the choir, being a member there over 65 years. Nina is one of the oldest living members of her Church. You would rarely have a conversation with Nina without her mentioning her deep rooted faith and dedication to serving her Lord and Saviour. Nina was equally devoted to her family as she served as the Family Historian for both sides of the Crawford and Aikman lineage, researching bits of the genealogy back to the early 1700’s.
You rarely left the Aikman house without something in your hand, whether it was a jar of homemade jelly, a bouquet of flowers, or snipplet or starter of a plant. Nina was often known as the “Berry Lady” due to her vast berry patch, which bountied many a crop of black and red raspberries, blackberries, and boysenberries. Her green thumb was successful in harvesting everything from persimmons, peaches, pears, Jonathon Apples, grapes, cherries, and gooseberries. And that’s not even counting the yearly garden of butter lettuce, tomatoes, corn, radishes, squash, and bell peppers, just to name a few.
Nina’s love of gardening didn’t end with edibles. Her irises, daffodils and dahlia’s were the envy of many. If you stopped to look around her yard, you would also see honeysuckle, Queen Anne’s lace, phlox of all colors, azalea’s, several varieties of roses, and the list goes on.
Nina Aikman was preceded in death by Gene, who died December 1980 and sister Etta Marie Crawford in 1918. She leaves her daughters Patricia Marie Aikman of Lago Vista TX, and Regina who lives in Kentucky. She was a very proud Grandmother to Crystal Dian Claxton, Robin Meredith Potter, and Mary Cooper Elwood. Her heart overflowed with 7 Grandchildren, Lillian Marie, Andrew and Aevalyn Grace, as well as Harlie, Bently and Mallory Matthews, and newcomer Frances Elwood Jr.