OBITUARY

Stephen E. Atkins Ph.D

January 29, 1941March 26, 2010

STEPHEN E. ATKINS, academic librarian/historian

Dr. Atkins died March 26, 2010, at his home in College Station, Texas after a lengthy battle with colon cancer. A memorial service will be held Saturday, May 8, 2010, at 2PM at the Memorial Funeral Chapel, 2901 Texas Avenue S. in College Station. Visitation will be on Friday, May 7, 2010 at 7 PM at the Memorial Funeral Chapel. Dr. Atkins was born on January 29, 1941 in Columbia, Missouri. His father was a heating and air-conditioning superintendent, and his mother was an office worker. As a youth, he traveled extensively attending 13 schools in 12 years in Texas and South Carolina before graduating from high school in Mexico, Missouri. His B.A with Honors and M.A. with Honors in European history was from the University of Missouri. He started work on a Ph.D. in French History at the University of Iowa, but the Vietnam War intervened. Dr. Atkins spent two years in the U.S. Army, ten months of which was in South Vietnam with Company C, 6th Battalion, 31st Infantry and later with the 19th Military History Detachment. His stay in Vietnam is described in his most recent book Writing the War, published just six weeks before his death. After serving his two years in the military, Dr. Atkins returned to the University of Iowa, earning his Ph.D. in French History in June 1976. Due to a tight job market and unable to find a teaching position, he worked at the University of Iowa library. Later he attended the University of Iowa Library Science School part-time and earned his M.A. in Library Science in 1983. His first position was as a Political Science Subject Specialist at the University of Illinois Library. After six years there and obtaining tenure, he became Head of Collection Development at Texas A&M Libraries in 1989. Dr. Atkins held this position for fifteen years. During that time, he helped double the size of the collection and turned the library from essentially an undergraduate library to a research library. Ill-health caused Dr. Atkins to step down as Head of Collection Development and become the Curator of the Dawson Collection and French studies at the Cushing Library. Over the course of Dr. Atkins’ career, he wrote ten books and numerous articles. Two of the most recent were The 9/11 Encyclopedia and Holocaust Denial as an International Movement. He also taught French History courses and a course on his academic specialty in extremism and terrorism. His increasing ill-health prevented him from the traveling to foreign countries which he loved to do.

Dr. Atkins is survived by his wife, Susan J. Atkins of College Station, a daughter, Stephanie S. Atkins of St. Louis, Missouri, a son, Jordan E. Atkins, daughter-in-law, Anna Palumbo and a grandson, Samuel E. Atkins, of Chicago, Illinois.

The family would like to thank all the physicians and staff at Scott and White Clinic in College Station and Temple for their dedicated service during Dr. Atkins’ illness. Their kindness and compassion during this difficult period was extraordinary. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Hospice Brazos Valley, the American Cancer Society or to a charity of the donor’s choice.

Services

  • Visitation Friday, May 7, 2010
  • Memorial Service Saturday, May 8, 2010
REMEMBERING

Stephen E. Atkins Ph.D

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Lisa & Dean Poppell

May 8, 2010

May God be with you and your family during this time of loss. Our prayers are with you.

Okay O

May 6, 2010

Dr. Atkins was a great boss and a very good friend. Yes, I do know that boss and friend usually do not go together but, believe me, they do when many of us talk about Dr. Atkins. He was a fatherly figure to many of us that worked with him. He was easy to talk to and his office door was always wide open for any of us to walk in and talk about our problems. No appointment needed. He treated everybody equally. He led by example. We spent our breaks with him in our staff lounge chatting and laughing together. We miss you dearly.
I still remember an incident that happened the very first year I started working under Dr. Atkins. A co-worker was so distraught and crying because she believed that she had underestimated the department budget by a substantial amount. Dr. Atkins came around during his usual morning walk around the office to tell us “Good Morning.” He noticed my co-worker's condition and asked what was wrong. On finding out what my co-worker's concern was Dr. Atkins assured her right before us that the issue was none of her business. He maintained that it was his (Dr. Atkins’) responsibility. He assured her that he, Dr. Atkins is the one that would be fired if anyone is to be axed for that. He took full responsibility for any such shortfall in our budget. Of course, it turned out that our budget was fine after all. My point here is that Dr. Atkins was a true leader who would take a fall rather than hang his subordinates out to dry. He was a great guy.
Adios Amigo. May your soul rest with the Lord, Amen.
To his family I say that we have you all in our prayers. Good bless.

Norma Flores

May 6, 2010

My thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort.

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