Ralph Leigh Atkinson Sr.

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 13, 2009

RAYMOND — Ralph Leigh Atkinson Sr., 79, Korean War veteran, passed away Wednesday, March 11, 2009, at his home in Raymond. A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday in the chapel of Wright & Ferguson Funeral Home in Clinton with burial following at Glenwood Cemetery in Yazoo City. Visitation will be from 5 until 7 tonight and at 1 p.m. Saturday at the funeral home.

Mr. Atkinson was born in 1930 in Satartia to James Franklin Atkinson Sr. and Margaret Leigh Garnett. He graduated from Satartia High School, where he was named Mr. Satartia Central High. He attended Copiah-Lincoln Community College on a football scholarship. He graduated in 1953 from Mississippi State College with a degree in agriculture administration.

During the Korean War, he served as a sergeant 1st class in the 106th Combat Engineer, 31st Dixie Division, U.S. Army.

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For many years he was a member of Van Winkle Baptist Church, where he was a deacon. More recently, he was a member of Morrison Heights Baptist Church in Clinton.

Ralph worked 25 years as an executive with South Central Bell. He was an avid Mississippi State fan, a lifetime member of the Telephone Pioneers of America, a member of the Touchdown Club in Jackson and faithfully met with the Veterans of the 31st Dixie Division in Vicksburg.

He was predeceased by his son, Richard Franklin “Ricky” Atkinson; sister, Garnett Faye Atkinson; and brother, Robert Edgar Atkinson.

Mr. Atkinson is survived by his wife, Frances “Fani” Townsend Atkinson; daughters, Syble Cherie (Henry) Burton of Tallahassee, Fla., and Janet Faye (Tony) Santangelo of Brandon; son, Ralph Leigh (Kay) Atkinson Jr. of Vicksburg; stepsons, Pascal Judson Townsend III of Clinton and Blaine (Connie) Townsend  of Houma, La.; sister, Francis Laverne Atkinson (W.D.) Winn of Tellico Plains, Tenn.; and brothers, J.F. Atkinson of New Orleans and Donald Talmadge (Jean) Atkinson of Vicksburg.

Grandchildren are Danny and John Burton, Tallahassee; Anthony Joseph Santangelo III, Brandon; James Lee (Angelique) Scheer, Bourg, La.; Elizabeth Scheer (Jody) Blanchard, Houma; Leslie T. (Rick) Greene, Fort Worth, Texas; and Drake (Dee Dee) Townsend and Tiffany T. (Bryant) Ward of Brandon.

Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society.