John J. Atkins Jr., 65, of Applegate, Ore. passed away Saturday May 25, 2013 at Three Rivers Medical Center. A celebration of life is planned for July 7, 12:00 at John's ranch. Chapel of the Valley-L.B. Hall Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Atkins was born Sept. 10, 1947 in Greeley, Colo. His family moved to Oregon in 1962. In 1966, he graduated from Grants Pass High School where he was a member of the wrestling team. He was active in Future Farmers of America and won many awards, including the Taylor Award in 1966. While in high school, he joined the Navy Reserve. He enlisted for active duty in 1967, serving as a fire chief in U.S. Naval Support Activity in Da Nang, South Vietnam and later in Phu Bai, South Vietnam, at the 8th Radio Research Field Station and 101st and 82nd Airborne Camps. He was awarded the Bronze Star.
After his military service, he attended Southern Oregon College and earned a bachelor's degree in law enforcement in 1973. He worked for the Jackson County Sheriff's Office for 27 years before retiring in 2002. He enjoyed spending time with his family, hunting, fishing, and raising cattle and horses on his ranch in the Applegate Valley.
In addition to his wife, Gwen Atkins, survivors include three daughters; Jocelyn Atkins of Portland, Chelsea Ashraf of Clackamas, and Ashley Atkins of Ashland; a sister, Sherry Larson of Applegate; and one grandson.