RICHFIELD SPRINGS – Joan Willard Atkins, 81, a former teacher in Richfield Springs, passed away Monday July 17, 2017, in Cortland Regional Medical Center, with her family by her side.
She was born on Dec. 4, 1935, in Orchard Park, daughter of the late George E. and Florence Fisher Willard. Joan was raised in Orchard Park and was a graduate of Orchard Park High School. She received a bachelor’s in education at SUNY Cortland.
On April 5, 1958, she and Kenneth Lee Atkins married in Orchard Park. They shared a loving and devoted union of 27 years until his passing on Dec. 11, 1985.
A well-loved elementary school teacher, Joan in elementary schools in Phoenix and Schuyler Lake, as well as fourth and second grades in Richfield Springs.
After retiring in June 1997, she was an Outward Bound teacher, joined the Peace Corps and made numerous trips to Europe with her nephew. She was always ready to try something new. She enjoyed cooking, gardening and sewing.
Joan was happiest when she was surrounded by her many friends and family, especially her cherished grandchildren and great-grandson.
Survivors include two sons, Philip Atkins and his wife Noreen of Groton, and James Atkins and his wife Dawn of Leesburg, Va.; daughter, Karen Atkins of Cortland; two grandchildren, Erin Hildreth and her husband Ryan, Timothy Atkins; one great-grandson Theo Hildreth; a sister, Beverly Walsh; a sister-in-law Marie Willard, and a host of nieces and nephews.
Besides her parents and husband, she was preceded in death by her brother George (Bud) Willard and a brother-in-law, William Walsh.
Calling hours will be 1-3 p.m. Saturday in J. Seaton McGrath Funeral Home, 40 West James St., Richfield Springs. A funeral service will followed at 3 p.m. at the funeral home, with the Rev. Jill Stellman, rector of Saint Johns’ Episcopal Church, officiating. Interment will follow in Schuyler Lake Cemetery.
Expressions of sympathy may be made with memorial donations to the SPCA, Cortland, NY. Envelopes will be available at the funeral home.