Amherst Magazine

Theodore M. Atkinson Jr. ’50

Deceased March 26, 2011

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In Memory

Ted passed away on March 26, 2011, in Williamstown, Mass., after a time of declining health. He was 85. He grew up in Winchester, Mass., graduating from Winchester High School. He then joined the U.S. Army for two years, stationed in the Philippines. He joined us as a veteran in the fall of 1946.

While at Amherst, he joined Phi Alpha Psi, the soccer and tennis teams and the outing club, perhaps foretelling his future interests. After graduation, he received a master’s of divinity degree from the Yale Divinity School in 1953 and was ordained that year at the First Congregational Church in Winchester. He also received a master’s in education from Harvard and briefly taught in Ipswich, Mass. Ted served as minister to Congregational churches in Danbury, Conn.; Peru, Pittsfield, Boston and New Marlborough, Mass.; Newport, R.I.; and Bethesda, Md. He retired after 25 years to become a professional genealogist, specializing in researching early Vermont families, notably the Carpenters of Carpenter Hill in Pownal and Bennington, Vt., from whom he was descended.

A member of the First Congregational Church in Williamstown, Ted was a faithful and generous volunteer in the research library of the Bennington Museum and was a docent at the Old First Church in Old Bennington. Subjects of his special interest were early New England meetinghouses and gravestones, on which he gave illustrated lectures. His other interests included birds, classical music, tennis and poetry. He enjoyed playing bridge and playing chess with his grandson. His widow, Anne, tells me that “bird watching” in those years was his favorite activity, and he went “everywhere” to find them. She also mentioned that she has been overwhelmed by the “hundreds of people” who are remembering him as such a well-loved individual. He also leaves two sons and four grandchildren.

George Hiller '50

 

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