Dave Atkinson was born to Alberta Ellen Dearing and W. Eugene Atkinson in Ypsilanti, Mich., in 1937.
He grew up with his mother’s family on the Dearing Farm in Parma Township, Mich., where he developed a love of tinkering. From there, he attended the University of Michigan and studied electrical engineering on a Navy ROTC scholarship.
After graduating, Dave started active duty in the Navy and met Joyce Henretty at a house party while stationed in San Diego. Ten days after their first date, he called her from Japan to propose. The proposal letter arrived a few days later.
They married in April 1963 and moved to Ann Arbor, where Dave pursued a master of electrical engineering degree and Joyce worked as a public health nurse. After Dave completed his graduate degree, Dave and Joyce returned to San Diego to start a career and a family.
Dave spent his career in telecommunications, working at Bell Labs, Pacific Telephone, AT&T and Pacific Telesis before retiring in 1994. Dave will be most remembered, however, for what he did outside of his career. An engineer, carpenter, landscaper, calculus tutor, science project master, all around MacGyver and lifelong volunteer, Dave was always there with his can-do attitude and easy going style.
After moving to Clayton in 1976, Dave began volunteering so he could spend time with his children – whether in Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, swim team or parent club. In retirement, Dave added the Clayton Business & Community Association, Clayton Community Library Foundation, the Telephone Pioneers and the Concord United Methodist Church to the many organizations he would serve. For more than 40 years, Dave and Joyce would volunteer together at ticket booths, book sales, the annual Christmas Tree Lighting and just about every other event Clayton had to offer until Dave was no longer physically able to attend.
In 2018, Dave was diagnosed with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, a degenerative brain disease that robbed him of many of his favorite pursuits. Dave was a strong, independent man, and though he fought against the inevitable, he succumbed to complications of the disease on Sept. 25, surrounded by his wife and children Cheryl Atkinson (Ron Cataldo), Karen Amos (Jeremy) and John Atkinson (Alison). Dave is also survived by his grandchildren Andre Baca, Haleigh Atkinson, and Kate and Bess Amos.
Due to the global health crisis, the family will not be holding a memorial. Instead, they ask that you reflect on your favorite memory of Dave, whether at one of the many (many) book sales, on a Scout trip, with the Thursday Crew at Concord UMC or the annual Tree Lighting in downtown Clayton, raise a glass in his honor and remember him fondly. Cheers Dave. We will love and miss you until we meet again.