Obituary of Willodene Atkinson
Written with a broken heart . . . Willodene “Dene” Frances Donald Atkinson went to her eternal home on Thursday morning, May 3, 2018. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m., Tuesday, May 8, 2018 at The Hamil Family Funeral Home, 6449 Buffalo Gap Road. Dennis McKinley will officiate. Burial will follow at 2:00 p.m. in the Texas State Veterans Cemetery at Abilene.
Dene was born October 19, 1931 in Buckatunna, Mississippi to Rev. T.F. and Gladys L. Donald. In her teens, her family moved to Lake Charles, Louisiana to pastor the Pentecostal church. It was here that she met Gordon and where they became instant high school sweethearts.
Dene graduated Salutatorian from LaGrange High School in 1950 and then enrolled in Business College. After returning from Korea, Gordon proposed to her and they were married on September 27, 1952 by her father, Rev. Donald. Dene worked as a bookkeeper and secretary wherever she and Gordon were stationed. While in Austin, Texas, she became a Legal Secretary for Jones, Day, Reavis and Pogue. Dene was highly intelligent and often said, “the kids got their smarts from their dad because she still had hers”. She had the capacity to get to the bottom of a situation while everyone else was tangled in the details. Along with her ability to influence others, her personality, and her “take charge” attitude, she was a good leader. Consequently, she was elected Director of Treasure of the Hills Senior Center in Cedar Park, Texas. In November 1999, she and Gordon moved to Abilene where she joined the Rose Park Senior Center. Dene volunteered for various organizations and loved to sing at nursing homes to encourage the residents. She loved to entertain, was a terrific cook, did beautiful embroidery, and was a couture level seamstress. She designed and constructed all of her youngest daughter’s high school ball gowns as well as all of the draperies in all of their homes. To know Dene was to love her. Through all of her pain and suffering over the years, she never complained. The world is a lesser place now that she is gone; however, Dene is now in the presence of THE ALMIGHTY GOD, our CREATOR, along with her parents, sister and brother.
Dene’s family includes her husband, Col. Gordon Atkinson of Abilene; children, Rhonda Denton of Garland, Texas, Dr. Gary Atkinson and his wife Nancy of Freehold, New Jersey and Sondra Atkinson of Dallas, Texas; grandchildren, Twin Kris Denton of Dallas, Texas and Twin Don Denton and his wife Marina of Dallas, Texas, Darian Atkinson, Twins Anthony and Ariana Atkinson of Freehold, New Jersey and great grandchildren, Daria and Sophia Denton.
In Memory of Dene, memorials may be sent to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.