David Atkinson

Born February 12, 1940

David N. Atkinson of Mission, Kansas passed away Wednesday, November 14, 2012, at the Kansas City Hospice House after a courageous battle with cancer. A Memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers the family request memorials be given to The David N. Atkinson Scholarship at UMKC, which benefits undergraduate students majoring in Political Science. He was born on February 12, 1940 in Mount Ayre, Iowa to his parents Cecil and Lena Atkinson. He graduated from the University of Iowa with a PhD and a Law Degree. He came to UMKC in 1967 as an assistant Professor and retired in 2011 as Curator’s Distinguished Teaching Professor of Political Science. He also held a joint appointment in the UMKC School of Law. Over his 44 years he taught courses on Public Law, including Constitutional Law, Judicial Process and Jurisprudence. He received the Shelby Storck Award and the Alumni Reunion Fellowship Award for outstanding teaching. He was also honored for his teaching by the American Political Science Association with their teaching award for Outstanding teaching in Political Science. In addition to many articles in professional journals, he was the author of “Leaving The Bench: Supreme Court Justices at the End”. This book was reviewed favorably in the Wall Street Journal along with many professional journals. David was a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States and a member of the Bar of the State of Iowa. He loved teaching and cherished the friendships he made with his students and colleagues through the years. He always had a thirst for knowledge and completed his life with dignity and courage. David was preceded in death by his Father. He is survived by his Mother at 103, his sister Gail and husband Pat Murphy of Poplar Bluff, Missouri and sister Priscilla Atkinson of Overland Park, Kansas. Also by two nephews, Rob and Ryan Murphy and families.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


David Atkinson

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Susan DuVall

June 16, 2013

A fine professor. Integrity shined through. Was his student in 1970.

Marlan McDonald

April 2, 2013

A superb teacher. I took The Politics of Civil Liberties from him in 1967. A 300 level A&S course, he taught it like a law course. Great experience. RIP.

November 27, 2012

David was a childhood friend, and I can remember many wonderful times that we had together. He is one of those people who was always optimistic, always friendly, fun, very intelligent, a scholar in a scholars world, and simply said, a very, very good person. He will be missed.
Bob Benson (Greenwood Village, Colorado)

November 23, 2012

David N. Atkinson was a teacher, scholar, loyal friend, and, in every meaning of the word, a gentleman. We can offer no igher tribute to his good and successful life.

Barbara and Larry Larsen

November 19, 2012

He was a great professor who inspired many. J Schuermann, MO

Gary and Anita Robb

November 19, 2012

David was a icon in many ways. An ideal teacher, scholar, mentor, and friend whose hight standards and class always set him apart. His keen intellect and passion for his students and his subject matter made him so special and beloved. In later years we were honored to have David as a friend, and to be able to share his joy and enthusiasm for the law with our children. He will be greatly missed, but never forgotten.

November 19, 2012

Prof. Atkinson, what an inspiration you were to me. I would get so overwhelmed when i would here you talk about the "Supremes" May You rest in peace, your work is done on earth.

Bob Evanson

November 18, 2012

David was a dedicated teacher and mentor much beloved and respected by his students, and he was a terrific colleague. All of us who knew him well will miss him.

Ann Hubbard

November 18, 2012

David was loved and admired by so many students, faculty and staff at UMKC. He will be terribly missed but never forgotten.s

November 18, 2012

He was an incredible professor who brought his love of the law to the classroom. He had high expectations for himself and others. Thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.

Emily Branch
UMKC, Political Science Major, Class of 2000