July 29, 1879 - July 21, 1955
|Charles D. Atkinson was born July 29, 1870, near Senola, Georgia, one of ten children of Burket Archabal Atkinson and Ruth Willoughby Atkinson. When Charles was about eleven years of age, the family moved to Louisiana and made their home near Ruston. He attended the local schools near his home. In his teens he heard the call to preach and was licensed to preach November 23, 1890. Realizing his need for a good education to do his best work for the Master, he entered Centenary College in the fall of 1891. During the summers of 1891 and 1892, as well as prior to his entry to college, he taught school in both Lincoln and Jackson Parishes. He earned his B.A. degree from Centenary College in 1896, and then immediately entered Vanderbilt University where he earned the B.D. degree.
He was ordained a Deacon in the Methodist Church in 1898 and an Elder in 1903. The conference record shows that Dr. Atkinson was admitted into full connection in the Louisiana Conference in 1901. During his second pastorate at Parker Memorial in New Orleans, he was married to Miss Claudia Ficklen of Washington, Georgia on June 16, 1910. To this union were born two children; a son, Charles A. who died when only thirteen months of age, and one daughter, Frances Ruth, now Mrs. J. I. Roby of Lecompte, Louisiana.
He served the following charges: Parker Chapel, now Parker Memorial, New Orleans 1899; White Castle 1903; Plaquemine 1904-1906; Parker Memorial 1907-1910; Crowley 1911-1914; Presiding Elder Shreveport District 1915-1918; Presiding Elder Monroe District 1919; Parker Memorial, New Orleans 1920; State Superintendent of Sunday School Work with headquarters in Alexandria 1921-1929; Lecompte 1930-1931; DeRidder 1932-1933; Opelousas 1934-1940; and then he retired and moved to his home at Lecompte, Louisiana to be near his daughter.
Charles D. Atkinson was a Christian gentleman; loved and respected by all who came under the influence of his Godly life. He was a good father and devoted husband. He loved youth and spent much of his time in their behalf, as evidenced by his work in the Sunday School and by his work in providing one of the first church camps for young people in the conference. His ministry emphasized the finer cultural values of life as evidenced by his interest in education of young and old alike. In appreciation of his great influence for the higher cultural advantages of life and his consecrated Work in the Louisiana Conference, Centenary College conferred upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity. He was a great friend of the young ministers of the conference and some of the leaders of the present day, both among the ministers and laymen, look back upon Dr. Atkinson with great appreciation for his wise counsel, unselfish service, and brotherly spirit.
After months of failing health following a stroke which left him unable to speak or to get out of his bed, he grew weaker and weaker until God called the old soldier of the Cross to lay down his earthly armour and take his place with the redeemed of the Lord on July 21, 1955. Dr. Atkinson had “kept the faith and finished the course.” He is survived by his widow, Mrs. Claudia Atkinson; one daughter, Mrs. J. I. Roby and family; and one sister who lives in California.
The funeral of Dr. Charles D. Atkinson was held in Lecompte Methodist Church July 23, 1955, by his pastor, Charles H. Giessen; assisted by Dr. J. Henry Bowden, Sr., Rev. Clyde Shaw, Rev. J. G. Snelling, Rev. W. L. Doss, and Rev. Charles Freeman, pastor of the local Baptist Church. Interment was in Greenwood Memorial Cemetery, Pineville, Louisiana.
Truly, Dr. Atkinson was a man sent from God to bless mankind and his influence lives on. In the words of Roselle Mercier Montgomery:
You are not dead — Life has but set you free!
Your years of life were like a lovely song,
The last sweet poignant notes of which, held long,
Passed into silence while we listened, we
Who loved you, listened still expectantly!
And we about you whom you moved among
Would feel that grief for you were surely wrong—
You have but passed beyond where we can see.
For us who knew you, dread of age is past!
You took 111 e, tiptoe, to the very last;
It never lost for you its lovely look;
You kept your Interest in its thrilling book;
To you, Death came, no conqueror, in the end—
You merely smiled to greet another friend!
|Source: Journal of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Church, Pages 150-151, 1954 by Charles H. Giessen.|