Class  of  1955
George C. Atkins

Obituary

 

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The funeral for retired Paris Fire Department Chief George C. Atkins of Paris will be at 2 p.m. Friday at First Baptist Church, where he was a member.

Trent Bullock will officiate. Burial will follow in Memorial Cemetery.

Named as pallbearers are Vic Mallard, Jeff Hamlin, Barry Farmer, Michael Williams Sr., Johnny Henderson and Brandon Bell.

Honorary pallbearers will be all Paris Fire Department members, retired members, as well as Bill Jelks, John French, Larry Hudgins, Carmen Odom, Gordon Owen, John Carpenter and many of his other special friends.

Visitation will be 4-8 p.m. today and after noon Friday at First Baptist Church. McEvoy Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Atkins, 77, died Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013, at Henry County Medical Center.

Born Dec. 1, 1935, in Weakley County, he was a son of the late Henry Clay Atkins and Annie Inez Owen Atkins.

His wife, Doris A. Jennings Atkins, died July 31, 2002. They were married on July 27, 1963.

Atkins served in the Tennessee Army National Guard for 19 years. He worked for L&N Railroad, retiring there and then becoming a member of the Paris Fire Department, where he was from 1956-2000 and had been chief from 1982-2000. He was a 1955 graduate of Grove High School, an active member of the Paris Lions Club, the Elks Lodge and a referee and official for the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) for 50 years.

He leaves one daughter: Sallieann Atkins of Paris; one son: Christopher C. Atkins of Brentwood; one brother: Jerry (Rosie) Atkins of Atlanta; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.

He also was preceded in death by one daughter: Cecelia Atkins; a son: James Kevin Atkins; and four sisters: Ruby A. Bell, Ruth A. Kemp, Dorothy A. Owen and Joy A. Vowell.

Memorials may be made to the First Baptist Church mission fund, 313 N. Poplar St., Paris; the American Heart Association, P.O. Box 840692, Dallas, TX 75284-0692; or the Tennessee Fallen Firefighter Memorial, 2161 Unionville-Deason Road, Bell Buckle 37020.

January 10, 2013

 

 

TRIBUTE

George Atkins, who died Tuesday in Paris, at age 77, was a longtime Paris Fire Department fire chief and a Paris-Henry County Hall of Fame athlete and Distinguished Service award winner.

Atkinsí career in firefighting began in 1956 and continued until he officially retired on Dec. 31, 2000. Stories in The Post-Intelligencer after that date show Atkins still went to many fires in Paris as a volunteer.

Atkins once said firefighting entered his blood during a cold, snowy blizzard-like night on Jan. 12, 1956, when the Paris Bakery burned. He called it the worst fire he could remember. Firefighters that night were able to keep the blaze from spreading to other structures that could have been destroyed by the weather conditions.

Before becoming fire marshal and fire chief, he worked as civilian volunteer firefighter, when the Paris Fire Department was located on West Wood Street in the block between Market and Poplar streets and across from the Henry County Courthouse. He was named Paris fire chief in March 1982.

While reminiscing of his years with the department just before he retired, Atkins also recalled blazes at the Paris Board of Public Utility garages on West Blythe Street, the Market Street fire that included Lonardo Piano and two other adjacent buildings that contained no firewalls and destroyed the businesses and the Dixie Cleaners fire in 1982 on South Brewer Street.

As much a firefighter as he was, Atkins also could be known for his athletic accomplishments and officiating duties in Tennessee athletic contestants.

Atkins holds a distinction of being chosen to the Paris-Henry County Sports Hall of Fame as a Distinguished Service award winner in 2005 and as an athlete in 2011.

As an athlete, Atkins starred on the Grove High School football teams of 1953 and 1954, being chosen the teamís Most Valuable Player in 1954. He later served as an assistant coach under Andy Settles, working with incoming freshman players. In addition, Atkins played baseball for Grove during 1953 and 1954.

As a distinguished servant, he started the first home team chain crew in 1957 and registered as a football and baseball official in 1960, calling Little League, Babe Ruth and high school baseball games.

As a football official, he worked former Big 10 High School Conference games, as well as the Exchange, Tobacco and Butter bowl contests. In playoff football, he served in all high school classifications and in the 1997 Clinic Bowl state championship.

He was supervisor and assigning official to Henry County football games and worked the sidelines keeping the game clock at Henry County High School football games.

In addition, he helped with the Paris Lions Club annual football banquet and the Elks Hoop Shoot. For his contributions as a member of the Lions Club, he was chosen Lion of the Decade in 2000.

In 2010, he was honored by the Northwest Tennessee Officials Association for his contributions as an official. He also was given a 40-year award from the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association in 2000.

McEvoy Funeral Home will announce his funeral arrangements
.

January 9, 2013

 

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Reprinted from  THE  PARIS  POST-INTELLIGENCER
Paris, Tennessee
January 9 & 10, 2013  Edition ~ Used by Permission

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