Mary “Pinky” Atkinson was met at Heavens Gates on April 15, 2022. Pinky was 91 years young and passed away Windsor Place in Coffeyville, Kansas where she had resided the last several years at after her health began to fail.
Mary “Pinky” Wanda Hepner Atkinson was born during the Great Depression in Coffeyville on August 17, 1930. When she was born, she was a pink baby, and so her family gave her the lifelong nickname of “Pinky”. Her parents, Ed and Iva (Parsons) Hepner, had 9 children, so there was never a dull moment. Pinky loved reading as a child and said that she would hide in a closet to read so she could have quiet and privacy. She attended Coffeyville Schools.
She married Jimmie Dee Atkinson on March 27, 1948. When Jim passed away in August of 2018, they had been married 70 years.
On Facebook, she declared, “I am a wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, but was first, a Christian, always.” She gave her life to Christ as a teenager at Springhill Church. Her heart for Jesus included being a Sunday School teacher or bringing neighbor kids to First Baptist Church or making sure people knew about the special occasions going on that celebrated Jesus.
When you have a name like “Pinky”, you have to be creative, and she was not only creative but artistic and innovative. Raising their family south of Dearing near James Road and then in West Coffeyville, she was often doing artistic projects or coming up with creative adventures. Jim and Pinky’s kids, Danny, Kristi, Joe, and Chuck, had childhoods full of spontaneous adventures and projects from their mom, while their dad would laugh, smile or shake his head. Pinky made thousands of milkshakes for Jim and their family.
After Chuck started school, Pinky decided to return to school and was a psychology major with an art minor at Pittsburg State University and earned a bachelor’s degree in 1974. She went on to teach some classes at Coffeyville Community College and owned her own home preschool for a short time. She was a square dance teacher for Dearing Bees 4-H Club, Scout Den Mother and was a part of the Night Writers of Southeast Kansas Authors Group and Kansas Authors Club. She wrote several books of memories.
Pinky had a matter-of-fact way of explaining almost everything from how easy it is to cook or the best way to do just about anything, usually with a smile. She loved teaching others and art. She could be bold and strong especially when it came to justice or righteousness. Again, her boldness was usually with a smile.
When they retired, Jim built their home just north of Dearing and Pinky enjoyed painting deer that wandered through their land and they both loved having their family together. When the place became too much for the two of them to care for, they moved back into town. Pinky also enjoyed attending church at First Baptist in Coffeyville or Dearing Christian Church — sometimes going to both churches on the same Sunday.
Pinky enjoyed time with family and friends including her lifelong best friend, Doris Moyer Slayter Hoyt. Pinky credited the Moyer family to taking her to church when she was a girl. Doris and Pinky shared a passion for education. Pinky illustrated several curriculum books for Doris through the years. She loved talking to people at auctions (her dad was an auctioneer) and the grocery store or in the doctor’s office. Sometimes she even gave them advice and ideas. She was extremely generous giving away just about everything she had to others.
When computers and cell phones became prominent, Pinky embraced technology and learned quickly. She insisted on taking her smart phone to the residential care facility.
As family and friends celebrate a life, well-lived, we remember Pinky with a smile on our faces and the hope of Heaven in our hearts.
Celebrating her life and cherishing their memories are her daughter, Kristi Gay Howard and her husband Norman; sons, James Joel "Joe" Atkinson, Charles "Chuck" Arthur Atkinson and his wife Angie; three grandchildren, Angela Barrow, Kassy Howard, Daniel Atkinson and his wife Amber, eight great grandchildren, Colsen, Ayden, Braylen, Bynlyn Barrow, Karyssa Hall, Bryce, Brayden and Kinsley Atkinson; She is also survived by her brother, Bob Hepner, Jim’s sister, Kathryn Lucille Wise and lots of nieces and nephews.
In addition to her husband, Jim, she was preceded in death by her son, Danny Atkinson, his wife, Marcia and her daughter-in-law, Joe’s wife, Hope, along with her parents, brothers and sisters, Leon Hepner, Wilma Tesh, Clary June Alvey, Edgar Hepner, Kenneth Hepner, Jodee Bainter and Donnie.
Funeral services celebrating the life of “Pinky” will be held on Wednesday, April 20, 2022, at 1 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 9th & Elm, Coffeyville, Kansas with Pastor Dick Smith officiating. The family will receive friends on Tuesday, April 19, 2022, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Ford-Wulf-Bruns Chapel, 2405 Woodland Ave., also in Coffeyville. “Pinky” will be laid to rest next to her husband Jim at Robbins Cemetery west of town. To leave an online condolence or to share a memory visit www.fordwulfbrunschapel.com