Baker City, Baker County, Oregon
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Mr. Claude Allan “Todd” Atkinson a former Baker City resident, passed away Jan. 7, 2005 at Pacific Palisades, Calif.
A private graveside service and celebration of his life was held at Mount Hope cemetery on Jan. 21, 2005, with the Rev. Lennie Spooner officiating. Todd was laid to rest near his father who died when he was just a young boy.
Todd was born on Nov. 20, 1917, to Florence Goodman Atkinson and Claude Monroe Atkinson in Cutbank, Mont. The family moved to Baker shortly thereafter.
After his father’s death his mother married Jesse Sutherland with whom he lived his early days. He grew up in Pleasant Valley and always loved sports, Todd played baseball on the Pleasant Valley team with his brother. They played the Baker team one year against Roland George. He was a Baker High School letterman and played football for the Bulldogs. He graduated from Baker High School in 1935.
After graduation, Todd entered the Navy and served in the Pacific during World War II. After the war, he married Racine Brawn in 1945 in Las Vegas, Nev. They lived on a ranch on the Sumpter Highway, raising cattle. Three years later they moved to California and Todd began working for Bekins and North American Van Lines in the sales department. The company transferred him to Chicago, Ill., and put him in charge of buying land to build storage buildings on.
In 1965, Todd married Ethel Lorraine Rathsom in Cutbank, Mont. They settled in Pacific Palisades, Calif., and lived there until his death.
Todd was a good golfer; even boasted about a hole in one he made a few years ago while in his 80s. He was an accomplished artist, displaying many of his oil paintings in his ocean view home near Malibu. He loved the outdoors. He spent many hours with his best friend Keith Mathews fishing at Diamond Lake near Sisters. Fishing was his passion and he loved deep sea fishing in southern California with his nephew, Allan. He also loved the Elkhorn Mountains and hunted elk and deer in them. He loved to travel in his motorhome with Lorraine. Las Vegas was a favorite destination, often meeting nephew Allan and wife Christine. He was also a practical joker and thrived on carrying them out. Quite often he would send “letters,” which only contained a cartoon clipping from the newspaper. He possessed a wonderful sense of humor and made everyone happy that he was around. Shortly before his death, he attended his 70th Baker High School Class Reunion.
Todd had a great love for his family and was a wonderful husband and uncle and friend. He had a great love for Baker and the people that he knew there. He never met a person that he didn’t like. He lived his life with dedication, honesty, integrity and love. It was a true privilege to have known him. He touched everyone that knew him and he made a true difference in their lives. His smile and vibrant laugh will surely be missed. It was his wish to return to Baker and now his life has come full circle.
He is survived by his wife, Lorraine; stepson, Scott Shafer, California; stepdaughter, Dawn Miller, Chicago, Ill.; nephew, Allan Atkinson, Decorah, Iowa; niece, Debra Burgess, Tigard, Ore.; and special friends Rhonda and Joe Spellman, Baker City.
Todd was preceded in death by his father, Claude Monroe Atkinson; mother, Florence Goodman Atkinson Sutherland; stepfather, Jesse Sutherland; brothers, Neal Atkinson, Portland, and Jack Atkinson, El Cajon, Calif.
Memorial contributions can be made to the Baker High School Scholarship Fund or the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation in which he was a member.
Gary’s West & Co. was in charge of arrangements.
Used with permission from: The Record Courier, Baker City, Oregon, January, 2005
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor