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James Thomas Atkins Sr.


HENDERSONVILLE-James Thomas Atkins, Sr., 74, died on Friday, April 17, 2015 at his home. He was born on June 29, 1940 in Zuni, Virginia, and was the fifth of nine children of the late David and Esther Atkins. He was predeceased by his wife of 49 years, Brenda Atkins, and three siblings: Ed Atkins, Bill Atkins, and Betty Hawkins.
He was an avid musician playing and eventually mastering the five-string banjo from age 13. He and his brothers formed the Atkins Brothers Bluegrass Band, playing many local venues across the Tidewater region of Virginia spanning the 1960s through the mid-1980s. Music was a way of life for the family as they worked various farms during and after the Great Depression and World War II.
He was a model employee for both St. Regis Paper Company in Franklin, Virginia from 1973 to 1987 and Electrolux Company in Asheville, NC from 1990 until recent. He and Brenda moved to Asheville after the closing of the plant in Franklin in 1987. They fostered a love for the Blue Ridge Mountains the remainder of their lives.
Surviving James is his five children: daughter, Melody Interlicchia and her husband Sam of Arden, NC, sons: Jamey and his wife Sheri of Asheville, and Michael and his wife Elizabeth of Eure, NC and Stephen and his wife Linda of Capron, VA and Jason and his wife Lisa of Mills River, NC.
He is also survived by his siblings: sisters: Shelva Edwards of Franklin, VA and Dorothy Turner and her husband Kent of Myrtle, VA. James is also survived by his brothers: Edgar and his wife Trudy of Courtland, VA; John and his wife Joanne of Franklin, VA and George and Gretchen Atkins of Ivor, Va.
James enjoyed his eleven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
A graveside service will be held at 2:00 PM, today, Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at Shepherd Memorial Park. An online register book is available for family and friends by visiting www.thosshpeherd.com. Thos. Shepherd & Son Funeral are in charge of arrangements. Donations may be made to the donor's charity of choice in James's name.
Published in The Times-News on Apr. 21, 2015
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