Ervin Lee Atkins Sr.

SALEM - Ervin Lee Atkins, Sr. was born December 6, 1923 in Christopher, Illinois the son of a coal miner. He attended grades 1-12 and worked as a grocery clerk before enlisting in the Army Air Corp on November 13, 1942 in Marion, Illinois. While stationed in Souix Falls, South Dakota, he fell in love with and married Mildred Othelia Evanger in a military wedding on December 6, 1943. A son, Ronald Lee was born there in October of 1944. Following discharge from the military, he attended and graduated from the University of Illinois, receiving a B.S. degree in Industrial Arts in 1950. While at the University a daughter, Pamela Sue was born in March of 1948 followed by another son, Ervin Lee Jr. on Mildred’s birthday, April 6, 1950.Ervin taught school in Illinois for three years before moving to Warrenton, Oregon in 1953, and finally to Salem, Oregon in 1964 where he taught at Judson Jr. High and then at South Salem High. He received his M.S. degree in Education from Oregon Sate University in 1968. He retired from the Salem School District in 1982 after 33 years of teaching.He was an amateur radio operator, W7HJQ, a 47 year Life Member of Gateway Lodge No. 175 in Warrenton, a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason and member of Al Kader Shrine. He also belonged to SEA, OEA, and NEA, and was a member of the Salem Nazarene Church.One of his greatest legacies to his students occurred while teaching at Warrenton High School, when he originated the idea of holding an annual Honor Student banquet, sponsored by the Masonic Lodge. This annual event now includes the Dick & Harriet Baldwin Fund, which now has over 1 million dollars in trust for annual scholarships. This year will be th 47th year of this great event.Ervin leaves his wife of 63 years, Mildred; and three children, MSG Ronald Lee, U.S. Army Ret., Pamela Weisser, 4th grade teacher at Weddle Elementary School in Salem, and Ervin Lee Jr., retired Electronics Engineer in Haines, Alaska. He is also survived by 7 grandchildren; and 9 great-grandchildren.Services will begin at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 14 at the First Nazarene Church, 1550 Market St. NE, Salem followed by a Masonic service and Military Honors at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland at 2:30 p.m. Arrangements are by Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service, Salem