Atkinson, Thomas R.
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Thomas R. Atkinson, economist 91, a 54 year resident of Westport, passed away September 2, 2013 in Meridan, Connecticut. He was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1922, the son of Thomas E. and Florence Roth Atkinson. A 1942 graduate of Denison University, Granville, Ohio, he served in the U.S. Army for two years during World War II. Tom graduated from the PhD program in economics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1951, where he met and married his wife Sue, a fellow student in the doctoral program. After graduate school he spent a year with the National Bureau of Economic Research, Riverdale, New York where he rewrote his doctoral thesis into a book, The Pattern of Financial Asset Ownership : Wisconsin Individuals, 1949 which was published by Princeton University Press. Later he worked as an economist at the U.S. Federal Reserve in Atlanta, Georgia and Scudder, Stevens and Clark, a New York City investment firm. He then served as director of economic research for the American Bankers Association and the final 15 years of his professional career were spent as director of economic research for General Motors Overseas. Upon retirement in 1988 Tom and his wife taught economics at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, China. During his time in Beijing he was witness to the student occupation in Tiananmen Square. Later Tom and his wife taught for Johns Hopkins University/University of Nanjing Center. Tom then taught a final term as a Fulbright Professor at Jongchan in Guangzhou, China. Tom was an enthusiastic sailor and a long-time member of Cedar Point Yacht Club. He also did research and wrote for the Westport Historical Society. Tom is survived by his wife of 64 years, Sue, and four children: Barbara (Kip) Seely, St. Louis, Mo.; Thomas N. (Patricia) Atkinson, Portland, Conn.; Connie (Mark) Holberg, Watertown, N.Y.; and Jane (James) Prentice, W. Cornwall, Conn.; and nine grandchildren. Donations in Tom's memory can be made to the Westport Historical Society, 25 Avery Place, Westport, CT 06880.
Published in Westport News on Oct. 4, 2013