Cover photo for John Franklin Atkinson's Obituary
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1932 John 2024

John Franklin Atkinson

November 10, 1932 — January 7, 2024

John "Jack" Atkinson, age 91, of Eustis, FL passed away peacefully on January 7, 2024, at Advent Health Waterman Hospital following a brief illness. He was born on November 10, 1932, in Orlando, FL, and was the son of the late John Atkinson and Lucille Atkinson Taylor.

Jack was a veteran and was a retired Chief Warrant Officer for the U.S. Army, having Top Secret clearance, and served 3 different tours (24+ years), including Korea and Vietnam. Jack was a skilled and proud Helicopter Pilot, willfully risking his life to serve his Country. He was one of the 1st ever COBRA Pilots to enter Vietnam; a war story he often shared.

After retiring, he became a contracted Helicopter Flight Instructor, teaching Army students how to fly. After this, he worked as a Commercial 911 Rescue Pilot in Idaho Falls. Jack lived in Quincy, FL on Gretna Farms for a big part of his life, where he lived with his best friend and love of his life, Wanda, of 36 years until her passing in 2015. While there, he was a Security Officer and caretaker of the property, warding off many poachers through the years.

Jack enjoyed serving his Country, but that is not all that he enjoyed- he loved huntin', fishin', and guns. He even set a World Record, receiving a gold medal, in the operation "Searun" event in September of 1977, which was a bass boat voyage put on by the National Bass Association, that ran from Long Island, NY to Tavares, FL. Jack also loved the mountains and the Lord and lived years in Blairsville, GA where he was a member of Union Baptist Church. He was a loving and caring husband, father, Papa, and great-grandfather.

Surviving Jack are two sons: W. Rod "Beau" Atkinson of Daleville, AL, John F. Atkinson, Jr. of Eastaboga, Al, four daughters: Theresa Atkinson of FL, Kelly Atkinson Cyr (Ivan) of Eustis, FL, Theresa (Tim) Bulka of Omaha, NB, Hope Atkinson Bryant (Chris) of Eustis, FL. Also surviving are 11 grandchildren: Richard and John Eads: Wesley, Travis, and Austin Sheffield: Alesia, Joseph, and Casey Henderson: Tristan Bryant and Emily Aldridge: Hannah Atkinson. Many other great-grandchildren, relatives, and friends also survive.

Funeral services will be held on Sunday, January 14, 2024, beginning with a processional at 12:00 noon from Cochran Funeral Home in Blairsville, GA. The service will begin at 1:00 pm at Union Baptist Church with Pastor Doug Merck officiating. Music will be provided by the church choir. A graveside service will immediately follow the funeral service in the Union Baptist Church Cemetery with final military rights given by The North Georgia Honor Guard. The following will be serving as pallbearers: John F. Atkinson Jr., Chris Bryant, Richard Eads, John Eads, Ethan Aldridge, and Mitchell Henderson.
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Sunday, January 14, 2024

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