Sidney Joseph Atkin, 84, died Aug. 1, 2018, after an 11-month flight into dementia. He was born July 26, 1934, in St. George, Utah, to Rudger Clawson and Leona Cox Atkin, the fourth of seven children.
He had a happy youth, growing up at 67 N 300 E: playing with bony animals in the dirt of the backyard; playing endless games of basketball with the neighborhood kids on the dirt court in the side yard; having his own shoeshine stand in Ron Knell’s barbershop; working at the Atkin ranch on the Arizona Strip.
He went to the only elementary school in town and graduated from Woodward Junior High. He attended Dixie High when it was still housed with the college in the old Dixie College building. He played basketball, excelled at it, loved it. He could – and did – describe the plays of those games and recite the scores.
After graduation in 1952, he lived for a year with his uncle and aunt Richard and Noma Bentley in Butte, Montana, working at J.C. Penney. He returned for a year at Dixie College where he had delightful adventures and developed lifelong friendships with a group who called themselves The Bunch – they designated a special holiday called Bean Day.
After his mission to Great Britain, Sid returned to Dixie College and graduated in 1958. Immediately after graduation, the day his first daughter came home from the hospital – he, his dad and brother Clayton bought the Sugar Loaf Cafe, and he went to work as manager. Later, he built a new cafe and a Rodeway Inn across the street – and with his brother Bruce, a Sugar Loaf Cafe and Rodeway Inn in Cedar City.
When his brother Ralph started SkyWest Airlines, Sid went in with him along with their dad, brothers Lee and Clayton – with nephew Jerry as manager. SkyWest became a major success, going from nine-seat Navajo Chieftains to a fleet of 70-passenger jets.
Sid had learned to golf in Butte, and as president of the Chamber of Commerce, was influential in the development of Red Hills Golf Course, introducing golf to St. George. He loved golf and was a member of Bloomington in its beginning – got his one and only hole-in-one on the sixth hole – played with a group of friends at Red Hills until his illness.
He was active in civic affairs – was a member of the Utah House of Representatives for eight years, serving as majority whip – was on the Dixie College board, the hospital board, the state parks board, Washington County Library board.
He was an active and devoted member of the church – just 28 when he became a bishop. He served on the high council and was always a dedicated, caring home teacher.
Sid married Mary Ann Hunt, June 29, 1957, in the St. George temple – a month later they drove to Fort Lee, Virginia, – visiting Niagara Falls, New York City and Washington, D.C., where Sid attended a National Guard school for six weeks. He was a supply sergeant in the Guard and was preparing for active duty when the law was changed and he was released from that obligation.
Sid and Mary Ann lived for a few years in an apartment at the Sugar Loaf, then raised their family in an old pioneer family home on 200 East – the one his father was born and raised in. In 1993, fulfilling a lifelong dream of Sid’s, they moved to Pine Valley – spent summers there and winters at a condo in Bloomington where they lived through Sid’s illness.
Sid loved to travel and did a lot of it – with family, with his business, with friends. The only continent he missed was Africa, the only states he missed were North Dakota and Alabama. He took his family on many wonderful vacations.
Sid Atkin was from Dixie – it was his home, he loved it – he was a major supporter of Dixie College – didn’t miss a football or basketball game – donated toward it becoming Dixie State University. He loved the friends of his youth and all those who came later – he loved class reunions – was excited each month to meet for a Class of ’52 breakfast with classmates who had remained or come back to Dixie.
Sidney is survived by his wife of 61 years, Mary Ann, his eight children, Shauna and Nathan Dalton, Natalie and David Bean, Tracy and Bradford Ball, Maurice Atkin, Cory and Patience Atkin, Kelly and Brigit Atkin, Trevor and Tara Atkin, Jared and Kari Atkin; 33 grandchildren; 20 in-law grandchildren; 26 great-grandchildren; sister LouJean and Harry Lundin, brother Ralph and Cheri Atkin; sisters-in-law Cleo Atkin and Janet Barlow.
He was preceded in death by his parents, and his brothers Clayton and Joy, Lee, Dennis and Bruce.
Thanks to Applegate Hospice for their kind, efficient service – and special thanks to Veda Steed for her capable, loving care – for always being there.
- Funeral services will be held Monday, Aug. 6, at 11 a.m. at the Bloomington LDS 7th Ward Chapel, 3519 Manzanita Road, St. George, Utah.
- Visitations will be held Sunday from 6-8 p.m. at Metcalf Mortuary, 288 West St. George Blvd. and on Monday, prior to services, from 9:30-10:30 a.m. at the church.
- Interment will be in the St. George City Cemetery.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Metcalf Mortuary, 435-673-4221.
For condolences, full obituary and funeral listings please visit Metcalf Mortuary online.