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Willard Lee Atkins
Sep 1, 1927 - Aug 8, 2016
Posted by: Ann Weber

(permission granted)

Willard “Lee” Atkins, 88, of Bartlesville died Monday, Aug. 8, 2016.

Willard was born the son of John Wesley and Mary (Smith) Atkins on September 1, 1927 in Catoosa. He attended Catoosa Public Schools, before joining the U.S. Navy. Lee proudly served his country from 1944 through 1949. After receiving his honorable discharge, he received his high school diploma. Even after discharge, Lee remained in the reserves from 1949 until Nov. 1950. He meet the love of his life by chance or as Melba says “divine intervention” and they were united in marriage on December 3, 1950 in Bartlesville. He was called back to active duty in Dec. 1950 and served until April 1952. Lee retired from the Bartlesville School System having worked at Ranch Heights Elementary in the janitorial department.

Lee served during the last of World War II and the Korean Conflict as Seaman 1st Class. He was aboard the USS Cavalier from 1945 to Sept. 1946, then transferred to Guam where he served until 1949. While serving on the USS Cavalier, an attack transport ship, he took part in five landings in the Pacific, including Saipan, Tinian, Leyte, Luzon and Subic Bay. On Jan. 30, 1945, the USS Cavalier was hit by a torpedo from a two-man Japanese submarine and lost all power. It was towed back to Pearl Harbor with the crew aboard. During the Korean Conflict he served aboard the USS Nicholas, Destroyer Escort.

Lee was a member of the Bartlesville Masonic Lodge #284 since 1965. He was a 32nd degree member and served as Past Master in 1996. He was appointed as District Deputy Grand Master by Grand Lodge of Oklahoma in Guthrie, Okla. and served from 1998-1999. In 2000 he was appointed a member of The Blindness Prevention Committee. He was a member of the Scottish Rite from 1966 to present; the York Rite and Commandery, 1996 to present; The Catoosa, Okla. Lodge from 1977 to present. Lee’s grandfather was Master of the Catoosa Lodge #185 in 1927. Lee was Past Master of the Ramona Lodge #326 in 2005. He was a member of the American Legion from 2011 to present.

Lee loved to work with wood, especially cedar. He made a cedar chest for all the women in the family, as well as selling the chests. He was the best husband, dad, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother and friend. He was always willing to serve and to help others.

Survivors include his beloved wife, Melba Lee of 65 years, one daughter, Rebecca Lea (Becky) McClure and husband Rev. Samuel McClure, Copan, son, Timothy Wayne Atkins and wife Wendy, Bartlesville. Grandchildren, Brandy Secondine and husband Josh Caney, KS, Shane Miller and wife Leann Bartlesville, Cameron Atkins Parsons, KS, Angel Atkins Claremore, Christopher Atkins Bartlesville, William Lee (Bill) Atkins, Bartlesville, Stephanie Lewallen and husband Phillip Arkansas and Sam McClure Jr Arkansas . He is survived by 14 great grandchildren. Surviving is one sister, Doris and husband Clifford Lovell of Tulsa, one brother, Jim Atkins of Tulsa, five nieces, three nephews and a host of friends.

Lee was preceded in death by one son, Alvin, his parents and brothers, Alfred, George, Carson, Ralph and baby Johnnie, grandparents George and Hettie Atkins.

Lee’s family will receive friends at the Davis Family Funeral Home, 918-534-3030, 113 S. Osage (Hwy. 75), Dewey, on Thursday, August 11, from 6-8 p.m. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the Town and Country Christian Church, 616 NE Washington Blvd., Bartlesville, OK 74006.

Funeral services with Masonic rites will be held 2 p.m. on Friday, August 12th, at the Town and Country Christian Church, with Rev. Lanny Smith officiating.

Interment with military honors to be provided by the James H. Teel American Legion Post 105 Honor Guard will follow at the Memorial Park Cemetery. Services are under the direction of Carter Davis and the Davis Family Funeral Home. Online condolences and remembrances may be shared with Lee’s family at www.DavisFamilyFuneralHome.com.


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