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Fred D. Atchison Sr.

Fred  D. Atchison Sr. Fred D. Atchison, Sr., age 93, died peacefully on April 4, 2018 at his residence in Honstead House, Meadowlark Hills Retirement Community in Manhattan.

Fred is survived by his brother Bernard (Val) Atchison, and sisters Betty Markels and Barbara (Charles) Cheeves; six children, Fred Atchison, Jr. (Sue) of Lawrence, Phoebe (Steve) Rinkel of Shawnee, Mark (Kirsten) Atchison of Plymouth, MA, Robert (Melissa) Atchison of Manhattan, David (Jan) Atchison of Manhattan, and Brad (Nicole) Atchison of LaVeta, CO.; eleven grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, brothers and sisters-in law, and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife Loreta (Rita), brother Richard, and grandson Ian.

Fred was born in Hancock County, Georgia, the eldest of five children born to Robert Lee and Mary Elizabeth Atchison. Growing up in rural Georgia Fred developed a love of the outdoors that lasted throughout his life. At the age of 17, Fred enlisted in the Navy where he served for six years, participating in the North African Invasion during World War II. In 1946, Fred married a Kansas girl, the love of his life, Loreta Mae Sheppard, in the navy chapel in Norfolk, VA. Fred and Rita celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in 2006, before Rita’s death the following year.

After Fred’s discharge from the Navy in 1948, Fred earned his GED diploma and then his B.S. degree in forestry at the University of Georgia. Fred worked for the Georgia Forestry Commission and the Maine Forest Service before accepting a position with Kansas State and Extension Forestry as an area forester. Working out of the Fort Hays Experiment Station, Fred initially served 40 counties in western Kansas. While living in Hays, Fred earned his MS degree in Botany at Fort Hays Kansas State University. In 1978 Fred transferred to the northeast KSU extension office in Manhattan where he served 14 counties until his retirement in 1989 after 25 years of promoting forestry in Kansas. Fred’s career was distinguished by numerous honors including the Kansas Wildlife Federation’s Forest Conservation Award. He was the author of many professional publications and poems, including a poetry collection, Prairie Reflections (1976). Fred’s devotion to his family, friends, forest conservation, woodworking and gardening was life-long.

A memorial service will be held on April 15, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. in the Community Room at Meadowlark Hills in Manhattan.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to the Meadowlark Hills Foundation or to the Aldo Leopold Foundation, in care of Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home, 1616 Poyntz Avenue, Manhattan, Kansas 66502.

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