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James Atkins

March 8, 1926 ~ December 23, 2018 (age 92)

Lt. Cmdr. (ret) James Vester Atkins

James (Jim) V. Atkins, resident of Carmel, California, was a beloved husband, father, and friend, and a lover of life.  Blessed with a joyful, generous spirit and a warm smile, Jim touched many people across many walks of life in his 92 years. To those who knew him personally, he was a versatile man with a passion for education, a voracious reader with a strong interest in history and politics, an avid skier, and a devoted father of four children. In his professional life, he was an accomplished insurance executive, underwriting many remarkable architects and engineers from Seattle to New York City. Born in La Grande, Oregon, to Sylvester Atkins and Josephine Higgins, the family moved to Portland before settling in Pendleton, Oregon. He treasured his eastern Oregon roots, which provided many lasting friendships and a successful high school basketball career, including playing on the state championship team his senior year. Upon graduation from Pendleton High School in 1943, he joined the Navy and was assigned to pilot training in Minot, North Dakota.  The war ended before he saw action and he remained in the Naval Reserve until 1980. He entered the University of Washington under the GI Bill, where he earned his BA and MA in Economics, and joined the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity.  He remained close friends with several of his fraternity brothers his entire life. He married Patricia Louise Potter in 1948. They lived in Seattle and had two children, Riley and Kiefer. Jim loved to ski, making annual trips to Sun Valley, and, together with friends, built the Alpine Inn at Crystal Mountain, WA. In 1952, he founded Hurley, Atkins and Stewart, Inc., a bond and insurance company specializing in architecture, engineering and contracting. In 1972, he married Elizabeth Ross. They lived in Mercer Island, WA, and had two children, Andrew and Jane. In 1982, he moved to Carmel, CA, to become vice-president of Design Professional Insurance Company (DPIC). From 1993 to 2006, he was consultant to Singer, Nelson, Chalmers and Insurance of Newark, New Jersey. In 1991, he married Fran Ellen Spector and together they designed and built SpectorDance, a state-of-the-art performance venue, home to a dance school and professional dance company. Fran and Jim shared a loving home and enjoyed travel and culture. In retirement, Jim served on the Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Monterey and SpectorDance. He was preceded in death by his brother David (Clarke) and parents Josephine and Sylvester Atkins. He is survived by his wife of 28 years, Fran Spector Atkins, children Riley J. Atkins (Maureen), T. Kiefer Atkins (Shannon), Lt. Col. Andrew R. Atkins (Alison), and Jane A. Franch (Adam), grandchildren J. Skylar Atkins, Maxwell A. Atkins, Lillian A. Atkins, Lola M. Franch, and J. Bodhi Franch, and great grandchild Kamryn L. Atkins. He died peacefully of natural causes surrounded by his family. There will be a celebration of life on April 26, 2019. Remembrances can be made to SpectorDance or to the Hospice of the Central Coast.  


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