Rites held for Jane Allison Gatling Atkinson

Published 4:12 pm Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Jane Allison Gatling Atkinson of Victoria, Virginia, daughter of the late Henry Willey Gatling, Jr. and Dorothy Jane Harman Gatling, passed away on December 21, 2015.  She was 71.  Besides her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband of forty-three years, Ronald Earl Atkinson, and her beloved younger brothers, Richard Henry Gatling and William Howard Gatling.

Jane was the granddaughter of the late Dr. William Cloud Harman and Jessie Custis Connelly Harman of Brunswick County, Virginia, and the late Henry Willey Gatling and Joyce Dunning Gatling of Aulander, North Carolina and Suffolk, Virginia.

She graduated from Victoria High School and attended Longwood College.  Jane was an avid reader with a talent for writing, two pleasures that led her to become a news reporter for the Kenbridge-Victoria Dispatch and the Charlotte Gazette in 1979.  She covered local government, political issues, crime and law enforcement, and numerous other topics in both counties until she gave up coverage of Charlotte County to concentrate on Lunenburg.  She was always known to report the blunt, no-frills truth, and was both praised and criticized for doing so.

In 2000, Jane was appointed to represent Plymouth District-#1 on the Lunenburg County Board of Supervisors, thus filling the unexpired term of state Delegate Tommy Wright, Jr.  The following year, she was elected in her own right, without opposition, and was re-elected, also unopposed in November 2005.  She served as vice-chairman of the board in 2008 and 2009 before choosing not to seek a third term, thus ending nine years of service on December 31, 2009.

During her tenure as a county supervisor, she served on a number of committees including the committee to build a new Lunenburg County courts complex and renovate the historic Jeffersonian courthouse.  She always considered this a labor of love, a project very close to her heart.

Throughout her years of civic service, Jane was three times president and twice secretary of the Victoria Chamber of Commerce, a charter member of the Victoria High School Preservation Foundation, a member in the 1980s of the Victoria Industrial Visitation Committee for State Certification, a former member of the Victoria Woman’s Club, and other organizations.

She was a lifetime member of the Victoria United Methodist Church, pianist for the Victoria Baptist Church Youth Choir when her children were young, and pianist for a number of local events through the ‘70s and early ‘80s.  She also loved to paint and do needle work, evidence of which filled her home.

She was founding member of the Main Street Monopoly, a quartet of longtime friends who played string instruments and sang such beautiful harmony that they frequently were invited to perform locally and around the state.

In the early 1970s, Jane and her brother Richard, joined by her son Butch and other friends, co-founded a blue grass band, the Free State Express – she played the upright bass and Richard the guitar.  Their natural harmony blended as that of siblings often does, and the band’s following of fans remained tremendous until the group eventually disbanded after many years.

Jane is survived by her beloved family – children and their spouses Ronald Earl Atkinson, Jr. (Melissa) and William Gatling Atkinson (Susan) of Richmond, and Sarah Jane Atkinson Pendleton (John) of Portsmouth, New Hampshire; grandchildren Sarah Kathryn Atkinson, Christian Anthony Costa, Colin Emery Costa, Steven Henry Atkinson, William Gatling Atkinson, Jr., Jessie Laura Atkinson, Allison Weston Pendleton, and Richard Caleb Pendleton; nieces Jessica Harman Gatling Pearson and Regan Clark Lane, and nephews William Howard Gatling, Jr., and Matthew Harman Gatling; and a large number of cousins.

A graveside service was held, Monday December 28, 2015 at 1:00 pm where Jane was laid to rest among members of her family at Bethel Church Cemetery in Alberta, Brunswick County, Virginia.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggest donations to the Victoria Fire and Rescue Squad or the Victoria United Methodist Church. Staples Funeral Home, Victoria in charge of the arrangements. Online condolences may be sent by visiting: www.staplesfh.com