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Colonel Edwin L. Atkins USAF, (Ret'd)(1917 - 2011)

Colonel Edwin L. Atkins, USAF, (Ret'd)

LAFAYETTE - Graveside services and military rites will be held on Friday, November 4, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. at Fountain Memorial Cemetery Lafayette for Colonel Edwin L. Atkins, U.S.A.F. (Ret'd). He died Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at the age of 94 after an eight year struggle with Alzheimer's. Col. Atkins was living at Cornerstone Village South in Lafayette at the time of his death.

Rev. Thomas Trees, of the Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Lafayette will officiate. Pallbearers include Brett Hall, Gene Cooper, John Cooper, Fabian Patin, Scott Fishback and Toby Talbot.

There will be no visitation prior to the graveside service.

The second child of the late Eugene and Kate Hardin Atkins, Ed was born on July 8, 1917 in Alcorn County, MS. After growing up in rural Mississippi, Ed enlisted in the military in 1942. Due to his intuitive mind, strong work ethic and intelligence, his talents were recognized and he was asked to attend Officer's Training School where he later graduated as a 2nd Lieutenant. Ed quickly moved up in rank as he served his country in the Air Force during World War II, the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War. His military accomplishments and awards include numerous World War II medals and commendations, three Commendation Medals for Outstanding Supply Command, two Bronze Stars and the Legion of Merit Award.

During their 30 years of travel within the military, including three foreign assignments, Ed and his wife, June, became antique collectors with a particular interest in antique clocks. When Ed retired from the Air Force in 1972, he and June opened an antique clock shop in Ft. Walton Beach, FL which remained an active business until 1989.

In addition to clocks, Ed loved singing. He particularly loved singing for the Lord and sang in every choir in every church his family attended throughout their military assignments. As a young man, Ed sang in a country music quartet in Mississippi. After retirement, he sang in Barbershop choruses and quartets in Ft. Walton Beach.

For two decades, growing Camellias was another significant hobby of Ed and June. Ed was extremely active in the Camellia Growers Association as a judge and participant at various Camellia shows throughout the south and won hundreds of ribbons and trophies for his exceptional blooms. He propagated and registered many new varieties of Camellias, naming each original variety after his wife, daughters and granddaughters. When Ed and June left their home in Florida to move to Lafayette, LA, they gave hundreds of their treasured Camellia plants that grew in their yard and greenhouses to "Camellia friends" from all over the South.

Ed leaves a legacy of service, loyalty and love for his country, family and friends throughout the world. He was an exceptional man and will be deeply missed.

Col. Atkins is survived by his beloved wife of 67 years, June Jarrell Atkins of Lafayette; his three daughters, Anne Patin and her husband, Fabian, Stephanie Stanley and her husband, Larry and Dr. Nancy Atkins. Surviving grandchildren include Brooke Fishback, Amanda Talbot, William Hall, Brett Edwin Hall, Daniel Stanley and Rachael Stanley. Other survivors include seven great-grandchildren; two siblings, Sarah Cooper of Pensacola, FL and Lawrence Atkins, of Camden, TN; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and his older sister, Eugenia Winner of Alexandria, VA.

Ed's wife and daughters extend deepest thanks to the kind and devoted staff at Cornerstone South in Lafayette. These loving individuals gently cared for Ed for the past three years. His family also thanks Hospice of Acadiana, who supported Ed and his family through his last days with quiet compassion. The family's journey was eased by their kindness and presence.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Col. Atkins' name to Hospice of Acadiana, 2600 Johnston St., Ste 200, Lafayette, LA, 70503, the at 2605 River Road, New Orleans, LA, 70121 or .

Following services, a reception for family and friends will be held at the home of Fabian and Anne Patin.

To view online obituary and guestbook, go to www.fountainmemorialfuneralhome.com.

Fountain Memorial Funeral Home & Cemetery of Lafayette, (337) 981-7098, 1010 Pandora Street, Lafayette, is in charge of arrangements.

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Published in the The Advertiser on Nov. 3, 2011
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