Ernest Willard Atkinson, 92, of Sanford passed away January 2, 2019. Funeral services will be held Friday January 4, 2019 at 2pm at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church.
Ernest was born in Kenly N.C. to Walter and Mary Atkinson. After he graduated high school, he joined the army and was drafted in World War II. He graduated from Atlantic Christian College, now known as Barton College, in Wilson N.C. After College he spent 3 years in Middlesex N.C as the coach of all sports programs including 6-man football. He then spent 7 years in Bladenboro N.C. as a coach. Ernest was the Dean of Students at Presbyterian Junior College in Maxton N.C. after which he served his first principalship in High Falls N.C. Following that he found himself in Sanford N.C. as the principal of St. Clair, Warren Williams and Jonesboro schools. While in Sanford he was promoted to head of maintenance and travel of the school systems and then served as assistant superintendent. Later he served as interim superintendent and then retired in Sanford after 38 years in education.
Mr. Atkinson was preceded in death by his brothers and sisters Ronnie, Paul, Bobby, Doris, Mildred, and Eva Mae.
Mr. Atkinson is survived by his wife of 68 years, Edna Ruth Barnes Atkinson; sons Ernest Steve Atkinson, and wife Kellie Knox Atkinson of Iron Station N.C. and James Willard Atkinson (Jim), and wife Kelly Greene Atkinson of Look-Out Mt. Tennessee; daughter Wendy Atkinson Hales, and husband Gregory Eugene Hales of Sanford; 6 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren; sister Ruth Daniels of Kenly N.C.
Visitation will be held in the parlor of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church at 1pm Friday January 4, 2019.
Memorials can be made to St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, 2916 Wicker St, Sanford, NC 27330, or to the charity of one’s choice.