Lena M. Atkinson
May 26, 1909 - October 05, 2015
Birthplace: Villisca, Iowa
Resided In: Overland Park, Kansas formerly Red Oak, Iowa

Visitation 10/9/2015
Nelson-Boylan-LeRette Funeral Chapel
Service 10/10/2015
Evergreen Cemetery
Burial 10/10/2015
Evergreen Cemetery

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Lena Atkinson, age 106, of Overland Park, Kansas formerly of Red Oak, Iowa, passed away Monday, October 5, 2015 at the Overland Park Nursing and Rehab Facility in Overland Park, Kansas. Lena was born Lena Mildred Enarson on May 26, 1909 on the family farm six miles north of Villisca in Montgomery County, Iowa. She was the sixth child of eight born to Henry and Jennie (Douglas) Enarson. Her childhood was filled with happy times spent playing outdoors and accomplishing necessary chores growing up on a farm.

As a child she attended country school #10 and later the Millgrove School for eight years. She graduated from Villisca High School where she was surrounded by many friends and relatives while participating in dances, school activities, and dreaming of the future. Her senior motto was "not at the top but climbing".

Lena attended Red Oak Junior College for one year, after which she taught at Wallin Country School with seventeen students ranging from first to eighth grades. During this time she taught herself to play the piano and put on plays with box lunches for parents during the holidays. She also had to carry in the logs to keep the stove burning. It was a lot to handle for a petit eighteen year old.

After a year she left to attend Iowa State Teachers College (now the University of Northern Iowa). After college, she taught third grade in Stuart, Iowa for five years. She moved to Red Oak, Iowa and taught at the Lincoln School for four and a half years. She resigned when she was united in marriage to Cecil Atkinson on December 17, 1938. At that time, women could not teach if they were married.

Because of her husband's work, they traveled a good deal, living in Mt. Ayr, Council Bluffs, Malvern, Sioux Falls, Watertown, Oakland, and Red Oak. During these years three children were born: David, Gail, and Priscilla. Cecil died on November 1, 1960. Lena then renewed her teaching certificate by attending Omaha University and Northwest Missouri State University. She taught third grade at Wales Lincoln School northwest of Red Oak until it closed. She moved to Jefferson school in Red Oak, where she taught third grade until she retired for the second time at age 65.

After retiring, she spent many years in Red Oak, actively engaged in the American Legion Auxiliary, the library board, the Association of University Women, the Methodist Church, the Monday Club, and various other organizations. She moved to Oshkosh, WI to be near her daughter and son-in-law: Gail and Pat Murphy, then to Overland Park, KS to be near her son and daughter, David and Priscilla Atkinson. She enjoyed many years being near her family.

Preceding her in death were her parents; husband: Cecil; all of her siblings; and her son: David. Survivors include her daughters: Gail Murphy and husband Pat of Poplar Bluff, MO and Priscilla Atkinson of Overland Park, KS; grandsons: Rob Murphy and wife Susan of Poplar Bluff, MO and Ryan Murphy and wife Jodi of Winneconna, WI; and great granddaughters: Kali, Haley, and Lindsey Murphy.

Graveside funeral services will be held 10:30 AM Saturday, October 10, 2015 at the Evergreen Cemetery. Family and friends will gather at the Nelson-Boylan-LeRette Funeral Chapel before 10 AM to go to the cemetery in procession. Visitation with the family will be held from 7-8 PM Friday, October 9, 2015 at the Nelson-Boylan-LeRette Funeral Chapel.

Nelson-Boylan-LeRette Funeral Chapel is in charge of arrangements.


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Nelson-Boylan-LeRette Funeral Chapel, Inc.
410 Sixth Street
Red Oak, Iowa 51566
Phone: (712) 623-2525 or
(800) 653-4881