Nelsen Williamsburg

3785 Strawberry Plains Rd., Williamsburg, VA


Marshall Fitzgerald Atkins

December 8, 1933August 11, 2019

Marshall Fitzgerald Atkins was born on December 8, 1933 in Charlotte, North Carolina to the late Dr. Cyril Atkins and Dorothy Eaton. Marshall graduated high school in Baltimore, Maryland and went on to receive his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Virginia State University in 1956. Upon graduation, he entered active military duty in the U.S. Army armor branch.

Marshall served over twenty years in the Army specializing in intelligence, operations, international military assistance affairs and research and development. His overseas assignment with the Army included: Aschaffenburg, W. Germany and Vinh Lon, S. Vietnam. He then served at Friedberg, W. Germany. His next assignments included Danang, S. Vietnam, Monrovia, Liberia and Seoul, S. Korea. His final military assignment was in Fort Ord, California after which he retired from the Army in December 1976 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

After his military service and before being appointed a Foreign Service Officer of the U.S. Department of State, Marshall was corporate manager for ground service of Capitol International Airways. His first State Department assignment was in Cairo, Egypt, Conakry, Guinea and Yaounde, Cameroon.

Marshall received his Master of Arts degree in National Security. After completing his degree, Marshall was assigned to the Department of State in Washington DC. In 1992, he was then posted to Singapore followed by Canberra, Australia as Administrative Counselor. Marshall was promoted to the Senior Foreign Service in 1993. He was fluent in French and had a basic understanding of Vietnamese and German. Marshall retired from the Foreign Service in December 1998. After his retirement from the Foreign Service, in January 1999, he did contract work for the State Department including an assignment to Perth, Australia as Acting Counsel General.

Marshall was an avid tennis player until he underwent a hip replacement. Not being able to play tennis any longer, Marshall trained to become a certified official of the US Tennis Association. Marshall was a member of the following: American Foreign Service Association, the Senior Foreign Service Association, Association of Diplomatic Studies and Training, The Naval War College Foundation, the Retired Officers Association, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and was a former member of the Board of Advisors of the Maryland Museum of African Art. In addition to tennis, his other interests included contract bridge, classical music, movies, American football and other spectator sports. Being a loyal member of Williamsburg Presbyterian Church, he served as an usher, ordained Elder and other areas.

Marshall was married to Freda Thompson on May 25, 1956 and out of their union two children were born. The late Navy LCDR Marshall Winfred Atkins and Hope Atkins Smythe. He leaves to cherish his memory his wife of 63 years, Freda Thompson Atkins; daughter Hope Atkins Smythe (Mark); granddaughters Erin Smythe-Morey (Ryen) and Kiah Zuniga (Jose); daughter-in-law Diane Watson Atkins; grandson Shawn Marshall Atkins and a host of relatives and friends.

Memorial services will be held at Williamsburg Presbyterian Church, 215 Richmond Rd., Williamsburg, on Saturday August 17 at 1:00 PM.

Condolences may be shared with the Atkins family at www.nelsenwilliamsburg.com.


  • Memorial Service Saturday, August 17, 2019


Marshall Fitzgerald Atkins

have a memory or condolence to add?

Colin Christmas

August 20, 2019

I only knew Marshall through playing Bridge with him. Lovely man and all at the club will miss a true Gentleman.

Bobby Stivers

August 16, 2019

Dearest Freda, Marshall was a true gentleman and will be missed by all. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. Bobby Stivers

Robert Lund

August 14, 2019

It was always a pleasure talking with Marshall. He had a quiet dignity reflecting a life well lived with significant accomplishments. But he seldom mentioned his accomplishments except in passing when answering questions.

While previously unaware of many specifics of Marshall’s accomplishments and service to our nation and many varied communities including of faith and interests, they were not surprising to read of. It was obvious that he was that kind of man. It was a pleasure and honor to know Marshall.

My heart goes out to Freda, the rest of Marshall’s family, and all his other friends. His loss is and will be painful to bare.