James Robert Atherton

By  | September 6, 2019 | Filed under: Laughlin Service Funeral Home, Obituaries

James Robert Atherton, 84, passed away Wednesday at Hospice Family Care in Huntsville, AL. Born in Owensboro, KY he was the son of Roy Mason and Annie Pearl Atherton. He graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in Electrical Engineering. He went on to complete a master’s degree at the University of Alabama. He proudly worked for NASA from 1959-1989 during the years of Mercury, Apollo, Shuttle and Hubble Space Telescope programs. Upon his retirement, he continued working for many years with various government contractors in Huntsville until age 75.

He was a longtime member of First Baptist Church, Huntsville. He served the Lord in numerous capacities during his time as a faithful member. He taught youth Sunday school, worked in the youth department, taught young marrieds, eventually teaching a men’s Sunday School Class. He was committed to sharing Christ through serving with the Salvation Army Food Van, tutoring women through Christian Women’s Job Corp and tutoring schoolchildren in math. He went to Mali, West Africa on nine mission trips, sharing Christ with the indigenous people groups. He was also very involved with High Mark ministry to Vietnam, helping teach Christian business principles.

Mr. Atherton loved reading, Alabama football and Kentucky basketball. However, most of all he loved spending time with his beautiful and loving wife, Patty. Their greatest joys were found in being together, whether it was a trip to New England or enjoying a cup of coffee at home.

He was the loving husband of Patty Montgomery Atherton for 58 years. He is also survived by children, Robert (Lee), John (Angela), and Melony (Phil); and grandchildren, Cassie and Madalyn Atherton, Emma Pullen, Mason and Sam Maughan, and Emily Atherton. His grandchildren will miss him dearly.

Visitation will be from 12-2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7 at First Baptist Church with the funeral to follow. Burial will follow at Maple Hill Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Christian Women’s Job Corp, 600 Governors Drive, Huntsville, AL 35801, or First Baptist Church, 600 Governors Drive, Huntsville, AL 35801, ATTN: Vietnam Missions.

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