Joan's Story

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CORTLAND - Joan Willard Atkins, 81, formerly of Richfield Springs, passed away on Monday July 17, 2017, at Cortland Regional Medical Center. She had the support and comfort of her loving family at her side.
She was born on Dec. 4, 1935, in Orchard Park, daughter of the late George E. and Florence Fisher Willard.
Joan was raised in Orchard Park and was a graduate of Orchard Park High School. She furthered her education at SUNY Cortland where she received a bachelor's degree in education.
On April 5, 1958, she was united marriage to Kenneth Lee Atkins in Orchard Park. They shared a loving and devoted union of 27 years until his passing on Dec. 11, 1985.
Joan was a well-loved elementary school teacher; teaching in the Phoenix elementary school system, Schuyler Lake elementary school and both fourth and second grades at Richfield Springs Central School.
Mrs. Atkins was a lifelong adventurer; after retiring in June of 1997, she attended outward bound as a teacher, she joined the Peace Corps and made numerous trips to Europe with her nephew. She was always ready to try something new.
She enjoyed cooking, gardening and sewing. Joan was happiest when she was surrounded by her many friends and family, especially her cherished grandchildren and great-grandson. She will be greatly missed.
Surviving are two sons, Philip Atkins and his wife, Noreen of Groton, James Atkins and his wife, Dawn of Leesburg, Virginia; daughter, Karen Atkins of Cortland; two grandchildren, Erin Hildreth and her husband, Ryan, Timothy Atkins; one great- grandson, Theo Hildreth; sister, Beverly Walsh; and sister-in-law, Marie Willard; along with a host of nieces and nephews. Besides her parents and husband Kenneth, she was preceded in death by her brother, George (Bud) Willard; and a brother-in-law, William Walsh.
Calling hours for Mrs. Atkins will be from 1 to 3 p.m., Saturday at J. Seaton McGrath Funeral Home, 40 West James St., Richfield Springs. Funeral services will follow at 3 p.m., at the funeral home, with the Rev. Jill Stellman, Rector of Saint John's Episcopal Church, Richfield Springs, officiating. Interment will follow in Schuyler Lake Cemetery.
Expressions of sympathy may be made with memorial donations to the Cortland SPCA. Envelopes will be available at the funeral home.
Published on July 20, 2017
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