Pastors' Memoirs

Gordon Rush Atkeison, 1916 – 2004

Memoirs Home 

Gordon was born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, where he was an active member of, and subsequently ordained in, St. Francis Street United Methodist Church. After graduating from Birmingham Southern College, Gordon traveled around the United States working as an actor, newspaper journalist, radio personality, and high school English teacher. After returning to Mobile, he was employed by the GM&O Railroad. Gordon married Leo Wise in 1943, and they moved to Durham, N.C., so Gordon could attend Duke University Theological Seminary — the first of many moves! Following is a brief summary of his long career:

1944 – Clover, Virginia
1946 – Spotsylvania, Virginia               
1949 – Grove Hill, Alabama
1951 – Century, Florida                     
1952 – Alabama/West Florida, Conference-wide Evangelist
1953 – Castleberry, Alabama
1954 – Hurtsboro, Alabama            
1955 – Brundidge, Alabama   
   During the 1950s, also spent time each year preaching in Cuba, Guatemala, and Costa Rica
1956 – Marion Indiana, to work with World Gospel Missions
1958 – Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico  & Dallas, Texas (left WGM due to ill health)
1959 – Madison, Virginia  
1960 – Batesville, Virginia
1964 – Melfa, Virginia
1966 – Dry Fork, Virginia
1967 – Emmerton, Virginia
1969 – Retired 
1970 – became funeral director  in Arlington, Virginia
1982 – Retired, and moved to Atmore, Alabama. Gordon subsequently served as a "substitute preacher" in south Alabama and north Florida, then accepted appointments to serve full-time in Lottie, Perdido, and Bay Minette, Alabama. Only during his lasat few years was Gordon actually retired.

This list is impressive, but in no way does it begin to illustrate what an adventure it was to share Gordon’s life! He loved music and shared his musical talents generously until the last couple of years. He was a scholar and loved words — their sounds, their meanings, and the stories they could tell. His sense of humor still has us laughing, and he passed on his expertise in puns to his children and grandchildren.

  Gordon is survived by his wife, Leo, and daughter Sarah Atkeison, in Atmore, Ala.; his son Bill (and wife Kathy) in Mobile, Ala.; his son John, in Wilmington, Del.; granddaughters Billie (& Stacy) Dooms in Richmond, Va., and Jessica (& Clint) Woods in Albuquerque, N.M.; and three great-grandchildren. We miss him!

— Sarah Atkeison



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Background photos courtesy of VDOT.

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