January 29, 1941 - March 26, 2010
Dr. Atkins died March 26, 2010, at his home in College Station, after a lengthy battle with colon cancer.
A memorial service is set for 2 p.m. Saturday, May 8, 2010, at the Memorial Funeral Chapel, 2901 Texas Avenue S. in College Station. Visitation will be on Friday, May 7, 2010 at 7 p.m. at the Memorial Funeral Chapel in College Station.
Dr. Atkins was born on January 29, 1941 in Columbia, Missouri. His father was a heating and air-conditioning superintendent, and his mother was an office worker. As a youth, he traveled extensively, attending 13 schools in 12 years in Texas and South Carolina before graduating from high school in Mexico, Missouri.
His B.A with Honors and M.A. with Honors in European history was from the University of Missouri. He started work on a Ph.D. in French History at the University of Iowa, but the Vietnam War intervened.
Dr. Atkins spent two years in the U.S. Army, ten months of which was in South Vietnam with Company C, 6th Battalion, 31st Infantry and later with the 19th Military History Detachment. His stay in Vietnam is described in his most recent book Writing the War, published just six weeks before his death.
After serving his two years in the military, Dr. Atkins returned to the University of Iowa, earning his Ph.D. in French History in June 1976. Due to a tight job market and unable to find a teaching position, he worked at the University of Iowa library. Later he attended the University of Iowa Library Science School part-time and earned his M.A. in Library Science in 1983.
His first position was as a Political Science Subject Specialist at the University of Illinois Library. After six years there and obtaining tenure, he became Head of Collection Development at Texas A&M Libraries in 1989. Dr. Atkins held this position for fifteen years. During that time, he helped double the size of the collection and turned the library from essentially an undergraduate library to a research library.
Poor health caused Dr. Atkins to step down as Head of Collection Development and become the Curator of the Dawson Collection and French studies at the Cushing Library. Over the course of Dr. Atkins' career, he wrote ten books and numerous articles. Two of the most recent were The 9/11 Encyclopedia and Holocaust Denial as an International Movement. He also taught French History courses and a course on his academic specialty in extremism and terrorism. His increasing ill health prevented him from traveling to foreign countries, which he loved to do.
Dr. Atkins is survived by his wife, Susan J. Atkins of College Station; a daughter, Stephanie S. Atkins of St. Louis, Missouri; a son, Jordan E. Atkins; daughter-in-law, Anna Palumbo; and a grandson, Samuel E. Atkins, of Chicago, Illinois.
The family would like to thank all the physicians and staff at Scott and White Clinic in College Station and Temple for their dedicated service during Dr. Atkins' illness. Their kindness and compassion during this difficult period was extraordinary.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Hospice Brazos Valley, the
or to a charity of the donor's choice.
Condolences may be offered at www.memorialfuneralchapel.com