Samuel Atkinson, Jr. known to most of you as "Pat" passed away Saturday, November 15th in the South Texas Regional Hospital in Jourdanton at the age of 77. He had been battling cancer, then a stroke. Pat was born January 7, 1937 to Sam and Oretha Atkinson of McMullen County. On June 18, 1955, he married Nola Curry of Whitsett, Texas. They built a small home in Loma Alto on the old Atkinson Family Ranch. He burnt pear on the Atlee Parr Ranch for $5.00 per day. Their first son, Justin Glenn Atkinson "Glenn" was born November 25, 1959. Loma Alto had its own Baptist Church. Nola played the piano. The church was located on Johnny and Ed Acker's ranch. All the country folk would meet for services there. Numbers dwindled as people moved away and the little church had difficulty finding pastors who would drive that far. Although, the church closed its doors and the remaining few members moved their membership to other churches, Pat and Nola are still on the roll in the Loma Alto Baptist Church. Nola still has all the business notes and records from the church. In the late 50's Pat began working on the Brown Ranch. Harry Brown was the owner of the 35,000 acre ranch south of Tilden on the Nueces River. Pryor Reagan was the ranch foreman and he became ill so they hired Pat. Today, part of that old ranch is known as the Arrowhead Ranch. Pat, Nola, and Glenn were joined by Jeffery Lynn Atkinson "Jeff" on May 29, 1962. In 1965, Pat, Nola, and the boys moved to the San Jose Ranch off of Hwy. 624 towards Cotulla. Mr. O.D. "Buster" Dooley was the owner of this ranch of 8,000 acres. Mr. Dooley leased his brother's ranch, the 46 Ranch. It was 4600 acres. Then, Mr. Dooley leased an additional 2,500 acres called Colorado. He and his ranch hand, Domingo Longoria, burned pear to feed the cattle and worked the cattle twice a year. Back in the 60's Screw Worms hit the country and infected cattle had to be doctored daily. He and Domingo put in a lot of hours catching and doctoring for Screw Worms and BANGS in cattle. Sandra Dianne was born October 22nd, 1965. In 1972, the family moved to the old Rutherford Farm 5 miles east of Tilden. Pat and the boys would help the neighbors, the Bracken Ranch, by working their cattle annually. As this ranch began to be divided by its heirs, Pat and the boys continued to help the neighbors. If you knew Pat then you know how much he loved his family. The other love of his life was Rodeo. As a young man, he roped calves and roped steers back in the time that the steers were not only roped but had to be tied as well. The favorite buckle he wore was one he won with Jack Stephenson. He passed that love of rodeo on to his kids. He hauled his kids to over 30 rodeos in one summer where they competed in the Texas Youth Rodeo Association or T.Y.R.A. and later in the Texas High School Rodeo Association where not only did they win a State Title but advanced to Nationals in the Team Roping. His other passion was hunting. Every fall he loaded up his old truck and trailer and headed to the mountains of Colorado, New Mexico, or Arizona. He hunted mule deer and elk. If you ever visited with him, you'd have heard of the great adventures hunting with his boys. The walls in his home displayed several trophy mounts. Glenn married Marcia Gullion of George West. Jeff married Lisa Wood of Simmons City. Sandra married Michael Swaim of Tilden. Both daughter in laws and daughter are teachers. His sons and son in law are all ranchers. As years passed, kids grew up, then it was time to become "Papa". Dianne Atkinson Riedel of Lubbock, graduate of Texas Tech University, is the oldest of his 5 granddaughters. Kayla Atkinson of Midland-his granddaughter with a knack for getting, well, as he put it, "Dang good jobs!" Then, Bailey Swaim, Carly Swaim, and Lindy Swaim, all of Tilden. These Swaim girls are his rodeo girls. If he wasn't at one of their high school rodeos, TYRA rodeos, or ranch rodeos, he was calling to see how they did! Clay Atkinson is his only grandson-the Simmons City golfer. He'd say he didn't know anything about golf but that Clay is dang good at it! Pat is very proud of his grandchildren. He was blessed in 2010 with his first great-granddaughter, Natileigh Dean Meyer. Natileigh loves her Pop-Pop and Ging Gong. Pat would say he wished he had just half of that girl's energy! Pat and Nola were married 59 years last June. He is survived by his wife, Nola Atkinson of Tilden; daughter, Sandra (Michael) Swaim of Tilden; sons, Glenn (Marcia) Atkinson of Datil, New Mexico and Jeff (Lisa) Atkinson of Simmons City; 6 grandchildren, Dianne Riedel, Kayla Atkinson, Bailey Swaim, Carly Swaim, Lindy Swaim, Clay Atkinson; and 1 great granddaughter, Natileigh Dean Meyer. Visitation will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. on Monday, November 17, 2014 at Galloway & Sons Funeral Home in Three Rivers, Texas. Funeral service will be conducted at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, November 18, 2014 at First United Methodist Church in Three Rivers, Texas. Interment will follow at Hill Top Cemetery in Tilden, Texas. Donations may be made to Hill Top Cemetery.
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