John Nelson Atkinson

Published 8:19 am Thursday, May 7, 2020

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John N. Atkinson, 94, of Elizabeth City, died April 29, 2020 at the Elizabeth City Health and Rehabilitation Center. He was born on December 6, 1925 to the late Florence Atkinson and James Atkinson in Glasgow, Scotland.

He served in World War II as a Sergeant in the British 2nd Army Glider Pilot Regiment.  He participated and flew a troop-carrying glider into the battle of Market Garden in September of 1944. After the war, he was reassigned to the Middle East for a year or so to the British Army civil operations in support of the Mandate of Palestine.

After military service, John immigrated to America and worked for American Hoechst Corporation (parent company of Hoechst-Roussel Pharmaceuticals) in Somerville, New Jersey.  He held various positions over a thirty-year span, working his way up to National Warehousing Manager.  He was a member of the Riverside Methodist Church in Elizabeth City and the Regimental Glider Pilot Association.

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John was preceded in death by his parents; his first wife Josephine Devoy Atkinson (South Plainfield, New Jersey); and siblings Annette Henderson and Margaret Simpson. He is survived by wife Harriett Atkinson of Elizabeth City; daughters Barbara Atkinson Henson (Toby) of Cocoa, FL, Cathy Atkinson Schwartz (Dennis) of Souderton, PA, Lesley Atkinson of Virginia Beach, VA, and son, James Atkinson (Leslie) of Hampton, VA; stepchildren Kevin Brophy (Lynette) of Gloucester, VA, and Kathleen Brophy French (James) of Marlton, NJ;  seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on June 16 at Twiford Memorial Chapel for family and friends. Twiford Funeral Home, 405 East Church Street, Elizabeth City, NC is assisting the Atkinson family. Online memorial condolences may be sent to the family at