Dr. D. Ferrel Atkins
Dr. D. Ferrel Atkins, age 87 of Charleston, passed away on Friday, September 16, 2011 at Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center in Mattoon, Illinois. In accordance with Ferrel’s wishes his earthly body will be cremated. Memorial Services honoring and celebrating his life will be held at 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, September 20, 2011 at Adams Funeral Chapel in Charleston with Reverend Dr. Thomas Hawkins and Reverend Jan Hawkins officiating. Visitation will be held from 1:00 p.m. until Service time. A private family inurnment will be held in the Olive Branch Cemetery in Clark County, Illinois at a later date. It is requested that memorial gifts in his honor be made to the Rocky Mountain Nature Association. Gifts may be left on the memorial table at the visitation or services or mailed to Adams Funeral Chapel, 2330 Shawnee Drive, Charleston, IL 61920.
Ferrel was born in Orange Township in Clark County, Illinois on February 15, 1924, the only child of the late Harry R. and Goldie Mae (Ferrel) Atkins. He married Virginia A. “Jan” Hogge on June 8, 1955 in Hampton, Virginia. He is survived by Jan, his wife of fifty-six years; a son, Alden L. Atkins and wife Stephanie of Alexandria, Virginia; a daughter, Anne F. Guettler and husband Duane of New Castle, Colorado; six grandchildren, Ferrel Atkins, Alexis Atkins and Adrienne Atkins, all of Alexandria and Kristin Guettler, Mikaela Guettler and Tyler Guettler, all of New Castle.
Dr. Atkins received his B.S. in Education from Eastern Illinois University in 1945 graduating with High Honors. He received his Masters from the University of Illinois in 1946, his Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky in 1950 and a Pd.D Honorary Degree from E.I.U. Dr. Atkins also received a Postdoctoral NSF Fellowship in Computer Science from Stanford University during 1964-65. He accepted a position at the University of Richmond in Virginia from 1952 until 1958 where he served as an Assistant Professor, Associate Professor and Department Chairman. In 1958 he returned home to Illinois and to his Alma Mater of E.I.U. where he was Professor of Mathematics and Computer Sciences, retiring in 1988 with the title of Professor Emeritus. Dr. Atkins was a member of several academic and social fraternities including Phi Beta Kappa. During the summers of 1952 through 1984, Dr. Atkins was a Ranger Naturalist at Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, Colorado, where he became the Park Historian. From 1986 until the year 2009 he continued there as a volunteer. He was an expert in his field and his thirst for knowledge and his desire to teach others never diminished.
Ferrel was also a member of the Charleston Masonic Lodge #35 A.F. & A.M. and was previously involved with the Wabash Valley Association. His interest in the National Park Service was always evident and his efforts in trying to establish locally the Lincoln Lake and Lincoln Homestead National Recreation Area were appreciated by many. Ferrel’s talents were numerous and varied. He was known to lobby before Congress as a politically active member of the Democratic Party or sing professionally with a light opera company in Louisville, Kentucky. Ferrel will be missed but he leaves a great legacy through his family, his friends and his many students.