Robert Forest Atkinson

March 24, 1940 - October 30, 2010

Robert Forest Atkinson died suddenly in Stonebridge Ranch, McKinney, Texas in the loving hands of our Lord and Bob's family on October 30, 2010. Bob was born on March 24, 1940 in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin to Ernest and Dorothy Atkinson. He grew up in Janesville, WI, then he attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison where he met his future wife, Judy Lee Walker, the first week of school. He graduated from UW in 1962 with a degree in Geology. His love of fossils propelled him to continue school where he earned his Masters of Science in Paleontology. His distinguished career as an offshore paleontologist led Bob and Judy to New Orleans and Lafayette, LA where he worked for Chevron Oil, Forest Oil, and other companies. Bob and Judy then moved to Northampton, north of Houston, while continuing his oil work until the mid 80's when the oil plunge required a new career. Deciding on a quilt and gift shop in Old Town Spring, they operated the well-known Creatively Sew for ten years. For 15 years they opened their hearts & historic Craftsman home bed and breakfast, The Iron Horse Inn in Granbury, TX where guests became family. Retirement was a new venture for Bob, but one of complete enjoyment in McKinney. Bob had a very busy social life where he was involved in groups such as Monday morning coffee, weekly ping pong, and Empty Nesters. Bob also loved playing all games such as Canasta, bridge, poker, etc. with his family and many friends. A man of many interests and loves, with music being a major one – including his beloved Martin guitar, a banjo, and harmonica. He was the lead guitarist and singer of his high school band "The Accents". Currently he brought his love to teaching his granddaughter Kalei to play the guitar. A collector of stamps and coins for 50 years, he was a history buff, especially the Civil War, often reading 6 books at the same time. His flowery, outdoor garden with an English look had people stopping by to talk to this white-haired, physically active man. No person drove by without a wave from Bob. A love by Bob & Judy was their designed backyard – a pergola with added patio, 2 waterfalls and a "lazy stream" with river rocks going next to the patio. A perfect spot for little grandchildren to wade and throw rocks. The waterfall rocks were all chosen by geologist Bob – no surprise. The final touch to the outdoor kitchen was a pizza oven, a great place for gathering around Chef Bob. With a rock hammer always in the car, traveling, gardening, NASCAR racing, learning Japanese, and love of all animals were an integral part of this fine gentleman. The most important thing in Bob's life was his wife and family. He loved playing with his grandchildren who lovingly called him "Bamps". This Christian man was a wonderful role model of how to be an exceptional husband, father, and grandfather. He was kind, loving, generous, fun, intelligent, healthy and funny. There are not enough words to express how much he is loved and will be missed by everyone who had the privilege of meeting him. Cherishing his memories are his wife of 46 years, Judy Walker Atkinson of Stonebridge Ranch, Jodi Atkinson Alexander and husband Keith of Coppell, Texas with twin grandchildren Ryan and Kalei (age 10), and Kevin Forest Atkinson and wife Mitsuko of Plano, Texas with grandchildren Jennifer (3 ¾), Joshua (1 ¾), and due any day, Sofia Evalee Ann. His only sibling, sister Gail Tower, is from New Hope, PA, and sister-in-law Joan and husband Brian Unter from Grass Valley, CA and 3 nephews & 1 niece. A private memorial service was held in their home. The service was opened by the four little grandchildren singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. With fun stories by children and family, scripture readings, music including nephew Joshua Tower from Broadway's The Lion King, all directed by Reverend Jeff Sanders from Ft. Worth who has been friends for 15 years as guests of the Iron Horse Inn. The family hopes the service inspires men to be active in parenting, grand-parenting and everyday love to spouses. Honoring Bob's love of all animals, if donations wish to be made, they can be given to Operation Kindness of Carrollton in loving memory of Robert Atkinson.