James T. Atkins Sr.

Published 11:52 am Wednesday, April 29, 2015

ZUNIā€”Our Lord and Savior called James Thomas Atkins Sr. home on Friday, April 17, 2015.

Born on June 29, 1940 in Zuni, Virginia, he was the fifth of nine children to the late David and Esther Atkins. He was predeceased by his wife of 49 years, Brenda Atkins, and three siblings, Ed Atkins, Bill Atkins and Betty Hawkins.

He was an avid musician playing and eventually mastering the five-string banjo from age 13. He and his brothers formed the Atkins Brothers Bluegrass Band, playing many local venues across the Tidewater region of Virginia spanning the 1960s through the mid-1980s. Music was a way of life for the family as it worked various farms during and after the Great Depression and World War II.

He was a model employee for both St. Regis Paper Company in Franklin, Virginia (1973-1987) and Electrolux Company in Asheville, North Carolina (1990-2015). He and Brenda moved to Asheville after the closing of the plant in Franklin in 1987. They fostered a love for the Blue Ridge Mountains the remainder of their lives.

Surviving James are his children. His daughter, Melody Interlicchia, and her husband, Sam, of Arden, North Carolina. His sons: Jamey and wife, Sheri, of Asheville; Michael and wife, Elizabeth, of Eure, North Carolina; Stephen and wife, Linda, of Capron, Virginia; Jason and wife, Lisa, of Mills River, North Carolina.

His is also survived by his siblings. His sisters, Shelva Edwards of Franklin, Virginia, and Dorothy Turner, and her husband, Kent, of Myrtle, Virginia. His brothers: Edgar and wife, Trudy, of Courtland, Virginia; John and wife, Joanne, of Franklin; George and Gretchen Atkins of Ivor, Virginia. His is also survived by 11 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

The graveside ceremony was at Shepherd Memorial Park on Tuesday, April 21, where he was laid to rest next to his life mate, Brenda.