Roger Alan Atkinson, age 74, went to be with Jesus March 7, 2023, at his home in Sandy, Utah. We were the lucky ones who got to claim him as Sweetheart, Dad, Grandpa, and Great Grandpa. Roger was born on Mothers’ Day, May 9, 1948, in Malad, Idaho, to David Roderick and Mary White Atkinson. He grew up in Samaria, Idaho, where he spent his childhood playing with his friends, riding horses, hunting, fishing, and swimming.
He enjoyed working for farmers, where he learned to drive. He loved repairing cars. His pride and joy was his cherry-red 1969 Ford Mustang Mach I that he saved up for and ordered it brand new. He drove it in the Samaria July 4th parade the same year he won first place in the beard growing contest.
He met his future wife when he was almost 17. She chased him until he caught her! They were married on July 21, 1972. They have had a good life. He and VerLayne have enjoyed going on vacations with the kids. They square danced for several years, and had great fun.
Roger was a mountain man for several years with his brother, Arthur. He attended rendezvous at various places. In 1989 Roger, VerLayne, and family began attending Mount Calvary Assembly of God church in Taylorsville, Utah. Roger attended a mens’ retreat in Glorietta, New Mexico. It was there he asked Jesus into his heart. This decision changed his life: he was never the same. He volunteered to be a Royal Ranger Commander, in which he worked with the young boys in our church: teaching them the word of God and taking them camping, etc. He especially enjoyed winter campouts. He also had been a Boy Scout leader. Roger was a Deacon at Mount Calvary and was on the church board for many years. He was also the sound man for the church. For the last ten years he has attended Central Church of the Nazarene, helping with the food ministry.
Roger loved turquoise jewelry. His wish was for each grandchild to have one of his rings. He loved the outdoors, and was a great dutch oven cook. He and his son, Frank, enjoyed rafting trips down the Green and Colorado Rivers. They enjoyed riding the smooth rocks near Moab on their mountain bikes. His claim to fame was his mustache. His family was used to it, but everywhere else he went he caused quite a stir. Many people wanted to take his picture.
He enjoyed seeing plays at the Hale Center Theater. He loved spicy foods, and put Cholula on everything. He was loved by his family and all who knew him. He retired after 33 years of working as a mechanic. You could always go to him and ask a question about your car, and he would be able to give ideas on what to check for. He was trusted for his skills and honesty.
He is survived by his wife, VerLayne; daughter, Mindy (Roy) Evenson; daughter, Heidi (Jeremy) Johnston; son, R. Frank (Sara) Atkinson; daughter, Marcy (Christopher) Atkinson-Flahaut; grandchildren, Erika (Brandon), Dylan, Dakota, Hailey, Roderick, Grace, Kohen and Keaton; great grandchildren, Tony and Ryker; sisters-in-law Georgia Atkinson and Doris Atkinson Collett.
Preceded in death by parents; brothers, David Sheldon, Clarence, Arthur Atkinson; sister, Ivy Jean East.
Thanks to all those who have prayed, sent cards, brought food, flowers, and loved us. Thanks, also to Rocky Mountain Hospice for caring for Roger.
Cremation provided by Goff Mortuary. Celebration of life will be announced at a later date. Samaria has always been in his heart and it will be his final resting place.