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PA lost great leader, friend with Akbari’s death

In the death of Ike Akbari, Port Arthur lost a community leader and a great friend.
I first met Ike when I was hired in 2011 to be President of the Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce. He was incoming chairman of the board.  I was immediately impressed by his smile and kind personality. Over the next four years I came to respect him for his love for Port Arthur. Yes, he made money by developing Port Arthur but he gave a lot of it back to the community. There are very few local non-profit groups that Ike Akbari did not support.
After Ike became ill I visited him at the hospital in Houston. Although paralyzed on his left side and the cancer attacking his thought process he managed to smile and tell me how he was looking forward to returning to Port Arthur. He also said he had told his family to stay involved in our city. “I love Port Arthur and want to go home.”
Over the length of his illness he did return a few times. The last time I saw Ike was at the groundbreaking for the Rotary International Avenue of Flags. Although in a wheelchair he still looked excited to see this project become reality. His loss hurts but it is nice to remember him bravely enjoying one last groundbreaking in the city he loved.
Bill McCoy, President
Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce

About Roger Cowles

Roger Cowles is the editor of The Port Arthur News. Born in Port Arthur, he grew up in Groves. He is a graduate of Port Neches-Groves High School and Lamar University, where he was editor of the University Press. Cowles is married to Celines Del Valle, is a member and past president of The Rotary Club of Port Arthur and serves on a number of boards for local agencies, including the United Way of Mid and South Jefferson County and the Salvation Army.

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