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LTC Donald E “Don” Atkinson

  • Birth 5 Sep 1923 Paoli, Orange County, Indiana, USA
  • Death 11 May 2012 Columbus, Muscogee County, Georgia, USA
  • Burial Fort Benning, Muscogee County, Georgia, USA
  • Memorial ID 90183453

Lt. Col. Donald E. Atkinson (Ret.) of Columbus, Georgia, died peacefully on May 11, 2012.

Born on his parent's Paoli, Indiana farm on September 5, 1923, he won a Better Babies Contest gold medal in 1924 at the Indiana State Fair. He went on to win several more awards in his lifetime including an Indiana Debate Team Championship during high school, and 2 Bronze

When Don saw his first movie at age 9, he cried because people were shooting at each other and dying. When he was 19, he joined the Calvary, made lieutenant and fought at Bouganvillia. In the Philippines he became Platoon Leader. Before shipping out, he met a Kansas girl on a blind date at a USO Canteen. He and Edith Mary Wilson married upon Don's return in 1946. This union lasted for 60 years until her death in 2006.

They had five children and traveled the world. Don re-upped and pursued his Army career in the Americal Division and then as a pilot, living in a variety of places including post-war Germany; Orleans, France, and Iran, where he rode camels at work, not to mention Georgia, Texas, Kansas, and Mississippi before retiring in 1966.

Don loved family and stayed in touch with his siblings, children, and grandchildren throughout his life. He went on several week-long fishing trips to Alaska with all the males in the family, the latest one just last August. He kept up with far-flung friends and more distant relatives with lively correspondence via the internet. He was very proud of his children and their spouses: Steve & Cheri Atkinson,
Ross Atkinson, Patty & Ted Hubbard, Debbie & Marion Montgomery, and Edie & Donald Jr. Atkinson. He is also survived by his sister Barbara, brothers Jim & Bruce, 9 grandchildren, 1 great grandchild and numerous nieces and nephews.

World War II is not the only battle Don fought. In the 1970s Don had skin cancer, colon cancer and 2 major heart attacks. After Edith died, lung cancer struck twice. Doctors said he'd be gone within the year. Don's reaction was to exercise more, travel extensively, visit everybody, and keep playing golf. He gave up his occasional cigar, but not his occasional toddy. That was in 2008. Don drove out to California this past December to see his new great grandson and play golf all winter. He last played on March 5, 18 holes in Palm Springs.

Though congestive heart disease took the battle this time, Don won his war on illness by living life fully for as long as possible.

Funeral services with Full Military Honors will be held at 10:00 A.M., Friday, May 18, 2012 at McMullen Funeral Home Chapel, 3874 Gentian Blvd., Columbus, GA with Rev. James Cornett officiating. Interment will follow in Ft. Benning Main Post Cemetery, Ft. Benning, GA. The family will receive friends Thursday evening from 6:00 to 8:00 P.M. at
the funeral home.

Family Members






  • Created by: vabloom
  • Added: 15 May 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 90183453
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for LTC Donald E “Don” Atkinson (5 Sep 1923–11 May 2012), Find A Grave Memorial no. 90183453, citing Fort Benning Post Cemetery, Fort Benning, Muscogee County, Georgia, USA ; Maintained by vabloom (contributor 46851926) .