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 Ray “Duck” Atkins

Ray “Duck” Atkins

Virginia, USA
Death 1 Feb 1997 (aged 69)
Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, USA
Burial Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, USA
Plot 105-B, Ray & Lois Atkins
Memorial ID 32535761 · View Source
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Mr. Ray Atkins, 69, of Matthews, died Saturday, February 1, 1997 at Presbyterian Hospital.

Funeral service will be Monday, February 3, 1997 from the sanctuary of Amity Presbyterian Church with the Reverend Grady Moseley and the Reverend Ms. Caroline Craig officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends at the church following the committal service.

Mr. Atkins , a native of Erwin, Tennessee, was a member of Amity Presbyterian Church, Matthews Masonic Lodge No. 461 AF & AM, the Scottish Rites Bodies and the Oasis Temple of the Shrine. He was retired manager and disc jockey of WIXE radio station in Monroe. Mr. Atkins and his wife were formerly associated with Arthur Smith and the Cracker Jacks.

Survivors include his loving wife, Lois B. Atkins of Matthews; two sons, Larry Atkins and his wife, Terri, of Ft. Mill, SC and Roger Atkins and his wife, Virginia, of Charlotte; daughter-in-law, Terry Gaar of Charlotte; four loving grandchildren, Nova, Sara, David and Brianna Atkins ; and stepmother, Tilda Atkins of Erwin, Tennessee.

Mr. Atkins was preceded in death by a son, David Atkins .

Memorials may be made to Amity Presbyterian Church, 2831 N. Sharon Amity Rd., Charlotte, NC 28205 or to Shriners Children's Hospital, c/o Oasis Shrine Temple, 604 Daniel Burnham Way, Charlotte, NC 28262.

McEwen Funeral Service, Mint Hill Chapel, is serving the Atkins family.

``He was perfectly satisfied,'' said his wife, Lois. He told her, ``I don't need anything but you and where I live.''

``He really loved where we live,'' she said. ``It's a hunk of paradise on the Charlotte side of Highway 51.''

Atkins left home at 15 and hit the road, said son Larry, whose godmother is Kitty Wells, the first ``Queen of Country Music.'' He was a traveling guitar player with bands that played for Hank Williams Sr. and picked with Carl Story and the Rambling Mountaineers, his son said. He toured with Eddy Arnold and roomed with Chet Atkins a couple of years while they both tried to figure out how to break into the business.

He bounced around the country from the Grand Ol' Opry to the Louisiana Hayride, which he left just before Elvis arrived. He appeared with Don Gibson and Archie Campbell on the Midday Merry-go-round show, the WLS Barn Dance from Knoxville and had even played with the legendary Roy Acuff.

He, his wife and his Dobro guitar landed in Charlotte on a WBTV (Channel 3) show with Arthur Smith and the Crackerjacks. Lois played the accordion and piano, and Ray had a skit with a duck puppet named ``Quackerjack.''

``That was one of the most popular things we did,'' said entertainer and musician Arthur Smith, with whom Ray had worked for about eight years. ``He could talk like a duck and suggested we add a duck to the cast. We used that for a long time. He was a good entertainer and musician, and a guy who was always on.' We'd go to do a show he's on' by the time you leave town.''

Tommy Faile was on Arthur Smith's show, too, and has known Atkins since the 1950s. ``He was a pioneer of country music,'' Faile said. ``He recorded Poison Love' back in 1948 and it was a big hit.'' Faile recalled their early days and nights of traveling in old Cadillacs and Chryslers.

An April 1995 concert at Ovens Auditorium reunited Smith, the Crackerjacks and other cast members for the first time in 14 years.

After working with Smith, Ray Atkins became a deejay and later managed radio station WIXE-AM (1190) in Monroe and, Faile said, ``changed it from rock to country and made money.''

''It would take me awhile to tell you all about him,'' said Faile. ``He was so super.''

Atkins was super as a father, too. ``Anything you could expect from a dad, we got it. He was wonderful and caring,'' Larry Atkins said. His brother, Roger, agreed, ``One heck of a good man, that sums my dad up. He was an excellent provider and like all children we went through the rebel years. Even if we'd irritate the devil out of him, he would still be there for us. He was the consummate father, the provider, the protector.''

Family Members





  • Created by: Midgette-Trent
  • Added: 31 Dec 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 32535761
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Ray “Duck” Atkins (19 Feb 1927–1 Feb 1997), Find A Grave Memorial no. 32535761, citing Amity Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, USA ; Maintained by Midgette-Trent (contributor 46829053) .