Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Jack P. Atkinson, Jr., Obituary

Mr. Jack Porter Atkinson, Jr., 67, of Garfield died peacefully in his sleep Monday, April 22, 2013 at the University Hospital in Augusta following a several week illness. Mr. Atkinson was born in Panama City, Florida on October 22, 1945 to Jack Porter Atkinson, Sr. and Meryl Hill Atkinson. He spent his early years in his father’s hometown, Garfield, Georgia, and later in Twin City, Georgia where he graduated from Emanuel County Institute in 1963. He attended and graduated from Emory University’s Oxford College in 1965 and Emory College in Atlanta in 1967 with degrees in Sociology and Anthropology. He was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha social fraternity, where he served as rush chairman. He joined the United States Peace Corps following graduation and after training was sent to Nairobi, Kenya, where he lived and worked for two years, 1967-1969, with the Ministry of Agriculture helping administer the national 4-K program. He married Jane Howard Martin of Springfield Tennessee in 1970. To them were born two sons, Jack Porter Atkinson, III and John Martin Atkinson. After his return from Africa, he worked with the Southern Regional Office of the Peace Corps recruiting Volunteers on college campuses, and also served as the Director of Training and Development for the Appalachian Child Care Project. He returned to Emory in 1970, received a Masters of Divinity degree from the Candler School of Theology in 1972, and became an ordained minister in the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church. He was Associate Pastor and Youth Director for the Covington First United Methodist Church in Covington GA from 1972 until 1975, when he was hired by his alma mater, Oxford College of Emory University, as Registrar and Instructor in the social sciences for ten years. From 1985 to 1987 he was Director of Development at Oxford College and in 1987 he became the Executive Director of the Association of Emory Alumni in Atlanta. He initiated the Emory Alumni Assemblies during his tenure and served in this position until 1995. As part of the Emory alumni travel program, he and his family were able to travel to many countries including Russia, the Canary Islands, the Mediterranean area, and a return trip to Kenya, Africa. Jack was active in the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation for many years, serving on the Board of Directors and as Rambles Chairman. He was Chairman of the National Register Review Board for the Ga. Dept. of Natural Resources, active in the Oxford Historical Shrine Society, and a member of the Oxford Historic Cemetery Foundation. He served for several years on the Town Council and as the Mayor of Oxford, Georgia. He and his wife Jane purchased and restored the 1837 Thomas-Stone House in Oxford in 1973 and completed a period restoration in 1995. They were the recipients of the first Georgia Trust Best Restoration Award in 1995. Their home was on many tours during their ownership and was featured in several magazines and articles. During these years Jack is remembered for his annual Christmas newsletter, which he shared with a large group of friends. In more recent years, Jack has lived in his hometown Garfield, Georgia, where he was a Counselor, taught at East Georgia State College, and was Director of the Franklin Memorial Library in Swainsboro Georgia for several years until 2007. He wrote a column in the Swainsboro weekly newspaper The Forest Blade for a number of years, entertaining readers with stories of his early life in Emanuel County and other lifetime memories. He was also active, and past president, with the Emanuel County Historic Preservation Society and served as Administrative Assistant to the president. Jack was a member of the Garfield United Methodist Church, often providing flower arrangements from his and other local yards for Sunday services. He enjoyed working with his sister at her Antique Mall in Metter, sharing their joint love of antiques and collectibles. He is survived by two sons, Jack Porter Atkinson, III, wife Lorin and their three children Jack Porter Atkinson IV, William Carmichael Atkinson, and Catherine Cherie Atkinson of Covington, GA; and John Martin Atkinson and his wife Mary and their two daughters, Jane Helen Atkinson and Virginia Brown Atkinson of Atlanta, GA. Jack is also survived by a sister, Barbara Mosses of Metter and her children Holly Mosses and Sean Mosses; a brother, Lawrence H. Atkinson and his wife Patricia of Garfield and their children Lash Atkinson and Lacie Atkinson Cobb; an aunt, Eunice Hill Collatz of Panama City, Florida; several cousins and many friends. Memorial Service will be held Saturday, April 27 at 2:00 p.m. at Jack’s childhood church, Garfield Methodist Church in Garfield Georgia, with interment in the Atkinson family lot at Hebron Cemetery outside of Garfield. Those wishing to pay tribute with flowers are encouraged to do so. Memorial contributions can be made to the Garfield United Methodist Church, 105 Monroe St., Garfield, Ga. 30425 or the Emanuel County Historic Preservation Society, P. O. Box 353, Swainsboro, GA 30401. The family wishes to thank special friends who helped Jack during his most recent extended illness, including Darla Harris, Donny Benton, Kenneth H. Thomas, Jr., Terry Bird, Clark Lemons, Jane Durden, and the ICU, medical, nursing, and respiratory therapy staff at University Hospital in Augusta, Ga. Condolences may be expressed at Chapman Funeral Home of Swainsboro is in charge of the arrangements for the funeral of Mr. Jack Porter Atkinson, Jr., 67, of Garfield.

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