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Rosemary Atkins devoted her lifetime working to educate, train, develop, and encourage others on their journeys. She departed this earth on March 4, 2023, and left behind a legacy of family, service, commitment to educational excellence, and above all else the love of Jesus.
With the help of her Heavenly Father the girl from Bentley, Oklahoma, survived the poverty of rural America, challenges of a struggling mother, a blended family, brain cancer and the loss of her father as a teenager. While God’s grace sustained her throughout her life it was the encouragement of her paternal grandparents, Rose and John Miller, and the encouragement of leaders and educators in Atoka County Oklahoma that enabled her to become the first person in her family to attain a college degree. Graduating with a degree in Nursing from Oklahoma Baptist University and armed with a commitment to education and lifelong learning she became a founding member of the faculty of what is now the Penn Valley College School of Nursing where she shared her medical knowledge and a love of helping others.
Not only did she care for students, but she also devoted herself to her family with intentional and focused love. As a devoted wife, armed with a pot of coffee, she made a 30-minute daily discussion with her college sweetheart husband John a priority. This effort ensured that they engaged with each other to reflect on the day’s events and afforded an opportunity to plan upcoming family activities. As a caring mother she spent countless hours helping her sons with their academics and supporting them in their activities. This included sewing costumes to encourage Mark’s efforts on stage as part of a community service organization and taking up photography to capture Robert’s numerous athletic achievements. She also leveraged her exceptional organizational and planning skills to ensure her family received tasty meals on a schedule and kept the family home in order.
As a grandmother, she loved on her grandchildren and never missed an opportunity to share the love of Jesus. She saw that they had experiences that would broaden their horizons through pottery making, trips to the zoo, and the ever-important visits to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
Her work went beyond that of a wife, mother, grandmother, and university professor. While working as a nurse on Native American reservations across the Southwest she drew on her own experiences as a child living in a blended family, a teenager struggling with the loss of a parent and her own health issues, to serve a population in need. As a testimony to God’s work in her life, she gave of herself to share how Jesus walked beside her every day and how His presence made a difference to her and to those with whom she came in contact. She and her husband John showed God’s love through their work together in church endeavors as they devoted themselves to college students and younger married couples seeking God’s will. Additionally, she taught families with children how to parent by God’s Grace, leading workshops at churches and military chapels across the country.
She served others not only in family, professional, and church activities, but also through her work as a member of the Board of Directors for the local Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) and the American Association of University Women.
Rosemary loved to travel and would gladly talk about trips to Europe, the Middle East, Far East, and across North America. It was through her travels she saw many artistic treasures and thought “I can make that cheaper than I can buy it.” So, she did, and her later years were filled with China painting creations she subsequently gave to numerous friends and family members to say, “thank you” and “I love you.”
Her memory will be cherished by her husband John, sons Mark (Susan) and Robert (Tammy), grandchildren Elizabeth (Justin), Anna, Jordan and Emily, and a very dear family of Dean and Janis Reeves and their children and grandchildren as well as countless friends, former students, and young (and old) adults she has supported through her years.
In remembrance of Rosemary, hug your family and tell them, and your neighbors that you and Jesus love them.
The family will conduct a private burial, but would be honored if you could join them and members of the greater Raytown Community for a Celebration of Rosemary’s Life on April 1, 2023, at 10 o’clock am in the atrium of Connection Point Church, 10500 E. 350 Highway, Raytown, MO 64138 (formerly 1st Baptist Raytown).