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Donald R. Atkinson, 67

Funeral services for Donald R. Atkinson, 67 of Garfield, were held Tuesday, December 7, 2021, at 11 a.m. at New Beginnings In Christ Church in Garfield. Interment followed at Hebron Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery in Garfield. The family received friends Monday, December 6, 2021 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Peebles-Curry Memorial Chapel. He passed away Saturday, December 4, 2021 at his residence.

Mr. Donald R. Atkinson was born July 15, 1954 in Millen to Robert Shorts and Bobbie Joyce Pope Atkinson. He was a 1972 graduate of Emanuel County Institute and received two degrees from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, one in forestry and and another in wildlife management. Mr. Atkinson lived in Garfield his entire life. He farmed and operated a large commercial pecan business. He also operated Gray Mule Farms, Gray Mule Pecan Co., Atkinson Pecan Products, and Garfield Equipment Co., along with other endeavors. He, along with his beloved Joanna, with the help of Almighty God, provided a place for thousands of men who were ravaged by addiction. There, they could find deliverance in God’s hands and were allowed to heal and begin new life. New Beginnings In Christ Recovery was founded on Mr. Atkinson’s faith in God. His Christian guidance and patience helped guide many to healing and recovery. Mr. Atkinson served as a city councilman and the mayor of Garfield and filled many other roles. The family says they could write forever and never say enough, but he would say they have written too much. He was a quiet man; he was prone to think rather that talk, but when he did, he spoke wisdom. He was preceded in death by his father, Robert Shorts Atkinson.

Survivors include his wife of 40 years, Joanna Johnson Atkinson of Garfield; mother, Bobbie Joyce Pope Atkinson of Garfield; daughter, Anna Atkinson Cowart (Casey) of Twin City; son, Jacob “Jake” Donald Atkinson of Garfield; sister, Cheryl Jean (Richard) Gray; brother, Chris Atkinson (Nancy Mixon Motes) of Garfield; grandchildren, Aubrey-Anna Cowart and Case Cowart; and many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and extended family.

Pallbearers were Rob Jean, John Jean, Abb Johnson, Ken Scott, Steven Thompson, Lee Foskey, Wendell Brown, and Wesley Mattox. Honorary pallbearers were the graduates of New Beginnings In Christ Recovery.

Should friends desire, memorial contributions may be made to NBIC, P.O. Box 192, Garfield, GA, 30425 or online at

Durden-Hudson Funeral Directors was in charge of arrangements.

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