OBITUARY

Curtis Bentley "Ben" Atchley Jr.

June 30, 1930November 14, 2018
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Curtis Bentley "Ben" Atchley, Jr., age 88, of South Knoxville, went to be with the Lord on Wednesday evening, November 14, 2018. Ben graduated from Young High School, class of 1949. After he graduated high school, Ben served as a Seabee in the United States Navy and served in the Navy Reserves for ten years. Ben also attended the University of Tennessee. He worked at South Central Bell for ten years and then began a career in the insurance industry helping found Atchley, Cunningham & Shoemaker. Ben was a member of the South Knoxville Masonic Lodge #769 F&AM; Scottish Rite and Shriner. He was a Ruling Elder of Graystone Presbyterian Church where he was a member for 51 years. During his career as a public servant, he earned the moniker, "Gentle Ben." Senator Atchley was the Quintessential Statesman like Governor Winfield Dunn and the late Senator Howard Baker. Ben effectively, tirelessly and selflessly carried the mantle of leadership, was trusted and respected by everyone and was the example and model of civility. He played a pre-eminent role in Knoxville, Knox County and Tennessee with his unparalleled dedication to good government. He was an ardent champion for the University of Tennessee and its key role for the state. In 1972 Ben began his political career when he was elected to the Tennessee State House of Representatives and then in 1976 elected to the Tennessee State Senate where he served until his retirement in November of 2004. He was unanimously elected Senate Republican Caucus Chairman in 1983 and served in that leadership position until January of 1986 when he was unanimously elected Senate Republican Leader and unanimously reelected through 2004. He was the longest serving Republican Leader in Tennessee State Senate history. The prestigious State Legislative Leaders Foundation selected Ben to be a member in 1987, becoming Vice Chairman 1991-1995, elected Chairman 1995-1998, and then being named Chairman Emeritus. Ben was appointed to the Advisory Council on Governmental Ethics for the Josephson Institute for Ethics in Government. In 1985 Ben was in the first class of Leadership Knoxville, served on that board for many years and hosted State Government Days for this group 1985-2004, and later hosted many other leadership groups from across the state. Because he was admired and respected by many political organizations as well as governmental entities, Ben was recognized and received many awards and was honored as Statesman of the Year in 1996 by the Tennessee Republican Party. Among his great legacies was building the Senate Republican Caucus as well as his efforts to keep the Senate a congenial and collegial body. Both were results of his gentlemanly approach to governance and his willingness to put the interests of Tennesseans ahead of partisanship and special interests. Ben had an infectious laugh, a kind demeanor, a joyous disposition and an amazing optimistic outlook. He was a major influence with his outgoing personality and his generous loving spirit which will always be admired, appreciated and treasured. Special thanks to the caretakers at Life Care Center of Blount County. Preceded in death by parents; Curtis and Alma Atchley; brothers, Jack and Ed Atchley. Survivors include wife of 68 years, Sue K. Atchley; son, Jerry Atchley (Cathy); daughter, Cindy Atchley; granddaughters, Lori Maupin (Jeremy) and Jennifer Atchley; great grandsons, Ayden and Andrew Maupin; brothers, Bob Atchley (Joyce) and Blaine Atchley (Carol); numerous nieces, nephews and cousins; and special "foster family" member, Tootie Haskins. Friends may call at their convenience on Saturday, November 17, 2018 at Berry Funeral Home, 3704 Chapman Hwy., Knoxville TN 37920 from 9:00am until 5:00pm. Family and friends will meet at New Prospect Presbyterian Church Cemetery, 4920 Prospect Rd., Knoxville, TN 37920 on Sunday, November 18, 2018 at 1:00PM for a graveside service. Following the graveside, the family will receive friends at Graystone Presbyterian Church, 139 S. Woodlawn Pike, Knoxville, TN 37920 from 2:30pm until 4:00pm. A Celebration of Life service will follow at 4:00pm with Rev. Dr. Leslie D. Rust and Rev. Mark Knisley officiating. Memorials may be made to Graystone Presbyterian Church or the charity of your choice. Condolences may be offered at www.berryfuneralhome.com

  • FAMILY

  • Sue K. Atchley, Wife
  • Jerry (Cathy) Atchley, Son
  • Cindy Atchley, Daughter
  • Lori (Jeremy) Maupin, Granddaughter
  • Jennifer Atchley, Granddaughter
  • Ayden Maupin, Great Grandson
  • Andrew Maupin, Great Grandson
  • Bob (Joyce) Atchley, Brother
  • Blaine (Carol) Atchley, Brother
  • Numerous nieces, nephews and cousins; and special "foster family" member, Tootie Haskins.

Services

  • Call at Convenience Saturday, November 17, 2018
  • Graveside Service Sunday, November 18, 2018
  • Visitation Sunday, November 18, 2018
  • Celebration of Life Sunday, November 18, 2018
REMEMBERING

Curtis Bentley "Ben" Atchley Jr.

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Bettye Phifer

December 1, 2018

My deepest sympathy to you, Sue, and your family. You and Ben are to be admired for your service to the community and to our state. The obituary and additional article in the News Sentinel were very well done, complimentary and certainly well deserved.

May you find peace and comfort as you treasure precious memories.

Sincerely,

Bettye Large Phifer

Suzanne Hine

November 21, 2018

I had a wonderful childhood in large part to the time spent with Benny, Sue, Cindy, and Jerry. I can recall so many happy memories and I had an impossible crush on Benny when I was five years old! I thought he and my daddy were just the greatest.

Love to all of the Atchley family. I am honored to know you. With love, Suz



douglas holman

November 20, 2018

Senator Atchley was so great to be around, i see where the family gets their sense of humor from!!
On a personal note he was such a great help to my wife Patti Holman many years ago when she really needed it, i will never forget this kind and generous soul for the rest of my days.
both of us are grateful for his entire family, we love them all
it may be years before i do not tear up at that video, it hurts so good to see such a witness for all that is good and right. Thank you Sir!


doug and patti holman

Jan Loope

November 20, 2018

Cindy, Sue, and Jerry. So sorry to hear of your loss. Praying for everyone. I'm also speaking on behalf of mother as I know she would say the same. Many years of memories with your family. May God's comfort be with each of you during this difficult time.

Missy Bradley-Ball

November 20, 2018

My heart goes out to Sue, Cindy, Jerry and the rest of the family and loved ones. Senator Atchley was a gentleman and the epitome of a public servant with integrity. My parents respected and supported him deeply and his legacy will live on through a beautiful family who also exudes humor, kindness and integrity. Such a big loss for the East TN community as well as our country. He was a great role model. May you all be blessed with beautiful memories.

Karen Reece-Ryan

November 20, 2018

Dear Sue & Family,
I'm so very sorry to hear of Ben's passing. It is and will continue to be a privilege to know and call you both "Family Friends". My nephew and I still have the autographed "Tennessee Blue Book" Ben gave us and will always cherish. Ben was a good man, indeed. Sending Love and Light to all of you at this difficult time.

Karen Reece- Ryan
Nila Reece

Starla Bridges

November 19, 2018

So sorry for your loss. I worked with Jerry Atchley years back at Unisys.

Brenda Waggoner

November 17, 2018

Senator Atchley was a constant and very prominent member of our community and the legislature. He was an excellent legislator and an good man who did much for the betterment of our state and our community.His life and service helped us all. My heartfelt condolences to Sue and the rest of his family.

Mark & Karen Milani

November 17, 2018

Sue, Jerry & Cindy: We are so very sorry to hear of Ben's passing. Our thoughts & prayers are with you & family at this difficult time. Sincerely, Mark & Karen Milani

Pat Edmonds-Welch

November 17, 2018

Cindy and family, I am so very sorry to hear of your loss. From everything I have heard and read about him, he was a great statesman and family man. My heartfelt condolences and prayers are with you and all who knew and loved him.

Biography

Curtis Bentley "Ben" Atchley, Jr., age 88, of South Knoxville, went to be with the Lord on Wednesday evening, November 14, 2018. Ben graduated from Young High School, class of 1949. After he graduated high school, Ben served as a Seabee in the United States Navy and served in the Navy Reserves for ten years. Ben also attended the University of Tennessee. He worked at South Central Bell for ten years and then began a career in the insurance industry helping found Atchley, Cunningham & Shoemaker. Ben was a member of the South Knoxville Masonic Lodge #769 F&AM; Scottish Rite and Shriner. He was a Ruling Elder of Graystone Presbyterian Church where he was a member for 51 years. During his career as a public servant, he earned the moniker, "Gentle Ben." Senator Atchley was the Quintessential Statesman like Governor Winfield Dunn and the late Senator Howard Baker. Ben effectively, tirelessly and selflessly carried the mantle of leadership, was trusted and respected by everyone and was the example and model of civility. He played a pre-eminent role in Knoxville, Knox County and Tennessee with his unparalleled dedication to good government. He was an ardent champion for the University of Tennessee and its key role for the state. In 1972 Ben began his political career when he was elected to the Tennessee State House of Representatives and then in 1976 elected to the Tennessee State Senate where he served until his retirement in November of 2004. He was unanimously elected Senate Republican Caucus Chairman in 1983 and served in that leadership position until January of 1986 when he was unanimously elected Senate Republican Leader and unanimously reelected through 2004. He was the longest serving Republican Leader in Tennessee State Senate history. The prestigious State Legislative Leaders Foundation selected Ben to be a member in 1987, becoming Vice Chairman 1991-1995, elected Chairman 1995-1998, and then being named Chairman Emeritus. Ben was appointed to the Advisory Council on Governmental Ethics for the Josephson Institute for Ethics in Government. In 1985 Ben was in the first class of Leadership Knoxville, served on that board for many years and hosted State Government Days for this group 1985-2004, and later hosted many other leadership groups from across the state. Because he was admired and respected by many political organizations as well as governmental entities, Ben was recognized and received many awards and was honored as Statesman of the Year in 1996 by the Tennessee Republican Party. Among his great legacies was building the Senate Republican Caucus as well as his efforts to keep the Senate a congenial and collegial body. Both were results of his gentlemanly approach to governance and his willingness to put the interests of Tennesseans ahead of partisanship and special interests. Ben had an infectious laugh, a kind demeanor, a joyous disposition and an amazing optimistic outlook. He was a major influence with his outgoing personality and his generous loving spirit which will always be admired, appreciated and treasured. Special thanks to the caretakers at Life Care Center of Blount County. Preceded in death by parents; Curtis and Alma Atchley; brothers, Jack and Ed Atchley. Survivors include wife of 68 years, Sue K. Atchley; son, Jerry Atchley (Cathy); daughter, Cindy Atchley; granddaughters, Lori Maupin (Jeremy) and Jennifer Atchley; great grandsons, Ayden and Andrew Maupin; brothers, Bob Atchley (Joyce) and Blaine Atchley (Carol); numerous nieces, nephews and cousins; and special "foster family" member, Tootie Haskins. Friends may call at their convenience on Saturday, November 17, 2018 at Berry Funeral Home, 3704 Chapman Hwy., Knoxville TN 37920 from 9:00am until 5:00pm. Family and friends will meet at New Prospect Presbyterian Church Cemetery, 4920 Prospect Rd., Knoxville, TN 37920 on Sunday, November 18, 2018 at 1:00PM for a graveside service. Following the graveside, the family will receive friends at Graystone Presbyterian Church, 139 S. Woodlawn Pike, Knoxville, TN 37920 from 2:30pm until 4:00pm. A Celebration of Life service will follow at 4:00pm with Rev. Dr. Leslie D. Rust and Rev. Mark Knisley officiating. Memorials may be made to Graystone Presbyterian Church or the charity of your choice. Condolences may be offered at www.berryfuneralhome.com