Cover photo for Sammy James Atchison's Obituary
Sammy James Atchison Profile Photo
1941 Sammy 2019

Sammy James Atchison

November 26, 1941 — March 2, 2019

Sammy "Sam" James Atchison, 77, of Paragould, passed away Saturday at Arkansas Methodist Medical Center. Preceding Sam in death were his parents, Harley and Louella Morton Atchison, and his older brother, Gordon Atchison.

Sam is survived by his wife of 44 years, Leola Atchison; two nephews, Stephen Atchison of Sikeston, Missouri and Clint (Debbie) Atchison of Jackson, Missouri; one niece, Kelly Atchison Kinder of Chaffee, Missouri; four grandnephews and one grandniece; three great grand-nephews, and three great-grandnieces.

Other survivors include Sam's mother-in-law, Lucille Jackson, sisters-in-law Lillian (Jerry) White and Lee Carole (John) Poe, all of Paragould; and brother-in-law Lonnie (Theresa) Jackson of Batesville.

A retired science and physics teacher, Sam taught at several high schools in Arkansas and Missouri. His longest tenure was at Stanford High School while his last job was at Cotton Boll Vocational-Technical School.

In 1959 Sam graduated from Greene County Tech High School. From 1962 to 1968, he served in the Army National Guard, achieving the rank of staff sergeant. Often he shared fond memories of his years in the Guard with family members. Passionately, he worked to instill a sense of patriotism, duty, and love of country in younger family members.

Another passion was antique autos. Sam always enjoyed attending antique auto shows and swap meets. In 1998 he restored his dad's 1974 Ford pickup, making certain to maintain original details, a principle he was adamant about. In 2006, he restored his father-in-law's 1929 Model A, a feat he considered one of his most important and finest achievements.

From the 1980's until his last days, Sam followed the stock market. During the past year when enduring chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and lengthy hospital visits in a battle with lung cancer, he tuned the television to show the ticker and explained to doctors and nurses that the market had helped him maintain sanity. At home, television also provided views of his hero, Matt Dillon on "Gunsmoke," other vintage series and stars, and action movies. With principles of capitalism and freedom close to his heart, Sam followed current events and politics as well, often sending comments by email to family. To younger family members, he provided historical context through recounting personal and family stories, often printing and mailing copies.

Sam loved two little patches of Heaven on Earth. The first was located west of Cornbread Corner where he planted, owned, and operated Bonnie View Orchards during the 1980's. No one ever grew a sweeter peach! The other was his family farm south of Paragould where he and his wife have lived for the past 25 years. Every spring, Sam looked forward to starting garden seeds in peat pots. He delighted in watching the tilling of the farm, the planting of rice and soybeans, and the harvesting of these crops.

In 1986 Sam became a Christian when he was baptized at Cotter Church of Christ. Currently, he was a member of two different congregations, 7th and Mueller and Mulberry. In daily life, Sam practiced Christian principles, especially in honest disclosure and dialogue in business transactions, in fulfilling responsibilities to others, and in guiding younger family members.

Visitation will be Tuesday, March 5th from 6-8 at Heath Funeral Home. The funeral service will be Wednesday, March 6th at 11:00 at Heath Funeral Home with William Fortson and Daniel Wilkerson officiating. Burial will follow at Greene County Memorial Gardens Cemetery.

Pallbearers will be Jacob White, John Poe, David Schug, Doug Threlkeld, Lonnie Jackson, and Barkley Threlkeld. Honorary pallbearers will be David Higdon, Otto Morton, Shelburn Morton, David Martin, John Tyler Poe, Ray Jackson, Jim Free, Jerry White, Bob Campbell, Stephen Atchison, Clint Atchison, and Leo Jackson.

In lieu of flowers, please send memorials to Children's Homes, Inc. 5515 Walcott Road, Paragould, AR 72450.

Online tributes: www.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Sammy James Atchison, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Tuesday, March 5, 2019

6:00 - 8:00 pm

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Funeral Service

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Starts at 11:00 am

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Greene County Memorial Gardens

2901 Highway 135 N, Paragould, AR 72450

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