GERALD THOMAS ATKINSON
Sunrise: August 3, 1926 Sunset: July 25, 2020
Jerry (as he was known most of this life) was born on Long Island, N.Y. to Mae Fleming. Shortly thereafter they moved to California. He was raised by his Aunt Grace and Uncle Henry Hamann with their two children, Betty Jo and Bud, in Albany while his mother lived and worked in San Francisco.
In 1936 Jerry's mom married Dr. Andrew Dodd Atkinson and Jerry went to live with them in San Francisco. Just before Jerry graduated from Commerce High School in June 1944, he was adopted by his step-dad and has been an Atkinson every since.
After graduation, Jerry spent two tours of duty in the US Navy. During WWII he spent time aboard the USS DANE APA238 as a radioman. Then in the Korean conflict he spent time with a Seabees Battalion as a surveyor.
In early 1948 he married Beverly (Penny) Panelli of Reno, Nevada. After a short stay in San Francisco they moved to Reno where they became parents of two lovely daughters, Vicki and Candace (Candie).
Following military service, he worked for various entities in both San Francisco and Nevada. The most rewarding though were stints with the Nevada Highway Department as a surveyor in Carson City (1949/1953) and then California Division of Highways (1953/1987) now known as Caltrans in both the San Francisco and San Bernardino District offices.
During Jerry's 34 year career with Caltrans, he worked his way up from surveyor, construction inspector and finally achieved the position of Resident Engineer. In this position, he was responsible for managing many construction projects in the Bay Area, During this period he also served as an Assistant Permit Engineer in the district office.
In 1978, Jerry transferred to the San Bernardino District office. There he also served as an Assistant Permit Engineer until his retirement in late 1987. Unfortunately at this time in early 1987, Penny passed on at age 57 after 39 years of wedded bliss.
Following Jerry's retirement he moved to Bishop, CA to be near his daughter Vicki and her family. After a time he met and married Esther Fostad Nelson, the second love of his life. During this time with Esther they lived in Bishop and Big Pine for a time then moved to Santa Maria, CA in 2000. While there, among other things, they were involved with the Las Padres Artists Guild for several years. Esther's artist moniker was ENA (standing for Esther Nelson Atkinson). This was a wonderful group of people dedicated to the Art Movement and which both of them were happy to be a part of. From there they moved to Sun City, CA in 2013 where Esther passed on in October 2014 at the age of 95 after nearly 26 years of also wedded bliss.
Jerry then moved to Livermore where he resided with his daughter Candie. This lasted for 3 years. In 2017 they moved to Tracy where Candie bought her first home.
Penny and Esther are resting in peace at the Riverside National Cemetery where Jerry will be joining them, alongside many national veterans and their family members.
Jerry was preceded in passing by this mother, his stepdad, many aunts, uncles and cousins.
Jerry is survived by his two daughters, son-in-law, 7 grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren and 10 great-great grandchildren
It was Jerry 's wish to express his gratitude to all those fine people who provided kindness, guidance, understanding and love to him and his families through the years. He also wished to say to all, please remember to love, honor and respect one another, for with this, whatever comes your way, you can handle it!
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