First and most important, he was a devout Christian who loved God and family very dearly and treasured the wonderful fellowship of Parkview Baptist Church in Arlington from 1969 until his departure from this earth.
Richard was born in St. Petersburg, Florida on 11 December 1926. He moved to Beaumont, Texas in 1936 where he attended Beaumont High School and Lamar Junior College. He enlisted in the Army Air Force in January 1944 and attended Aerial Photography School. He was training as a B-29 Aerial Gunner when the war ended. He went on to win a commission and attended pilot training as a student officer. He returned to Beaumont, Texas after separation from the US Air Force in 1948 and worked as a Structural Steel Designer until recall to the Air Force in 1951.
He served in France as a Unit Commander and was separated in 1953 and immediately joined Chance Vought Aircraft Company (later LTV Aerospace corporation) and worked as a Design Engineer, Research and Development Engineer and was a Technical Project Manager at retirement in 1990. Mr. Atkins was well known in Aerospace circles, serving on many industry and Government technical committees and industry organizations. He was President of SAFE Association, Chairman of the Aerospace Industries 340-5 Crew Systems Committee and a long time member of DOD AirCrew Station Standardization Panel.
At the time of his retirement Mr. Atkins headed the Pilot/Vehicle Integration organization at LTV. Among his many accomplishments was the invention of the SENDS Safe Ejection Envelope Display System, a device to keep pilots of high performance military aircraft constantly informed of their safe ejection capabilities.
Mr. Atkins retained his military status, serving with the 136th Fighter Wing (later the 136th Air Refueling Wing) of the Texas Air National Guard at Hensley Field. He retired in 1974 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
Upon his retirement from LTV, Mr. Atkins converted his avocation as an Aviation Writer to a full time profession. He authored many magazine and newspaper articles and several books including Outstanding Military Aircraft of World War II and Fighting Scouts of the 8th Air Force. He was active in World War II historical organizations and was President of the North Texas Chapter of the 8th Air Force Historical Society, Chairman of the Interlink Aviation Task, Executive Director of the Scouting Force Association, Chairman of the Southwest Aviation Museum Council and Director of Museum Activities for the Lockheed Martin Vought Center Retiree Club. He also served as a member of the Governing Board of the Vought Internet Project and was instrumental in developing the history of the Chance Vought Company Website.
Survivors: Preceded in death by his wife of 72 years Marian Burkhart Atkins and son Everett Richard (Rick) Atkins III; Daughters, Terry Craddock and husband Phil, Carol Wampler and husband John. Grandsons Phil Craddock and wife Adela, Johnny Wampler and wife Jennifer; Grand Daughters Tammy Craddock, Kim Drake and husband Rod, Skye Hasan and husband Fe; 16 Great Grandchildren and 5 Great Great Grandchildren.
A celebration of Dick's life will be held on Sunday, July 17, 2022 at 3:00pm at the Frontiers Flight Museum Auditorium 6911 Lemmon Ave. Dallas, Texas 75209. Friends are welcome to gather 30 minutes early to tour the museum. The family invites you to join them for food and refreshments following the service.