Dr. Kenward L. Atkin passed away peacefully on December 27, 2010 in East Lansing MI, after living
a long and full life of almost 92 years. Ken was happily married for 61
years to the lovely Jane Follis Atkin, who preceded him in death in December 2005.
Together, they made their home in a rich variety of locales: Washington DC, Sault Ste.
Marie, Ann Arbor, Birmingham, East Lansing, Los Angeles, and Dallas, followed by
retirement in Cape Coral FL in the winter and Cedarville MI in the summer where Ken
and Jane could share long walks on sunny beaches and forest trails. He also enjoyed
playing golf and feeding birds, ducks, and deer.
Ken was a son of the Upper Peninsula, born in Houghton and raised in the Soo; he
continued visiting the UP every summer for decades after escaping the blustery winter
weather. His parents were Charles and Ella Atkin, and he was close to his late sister
Virginia Whitmore of Los Angeles. During World War II, he was an Army Captain in
northern Africa and Italy campaigns. He spent 10 years in business executive positions
before joining the faculty at Michigan State University.
As a Professor and later Chairman of MSU's nationally acclaimed Department of
Advertising, Ken influenced and inspired two generations of Advertising students. He
was proud to be elected as President of the American Academy of Advertising. In
addition, he helped build the Department of Communication at California State
University Fullerton into one of the largest communication schools in the country, and
was Dean of Communication Arts at Southern Methodist University. Ken's BA and
MBA degrees were earned at University of Michigan, and he received the first PhD in
Communication at MSU while teaching a full load of Advertising courses. Three of his
children followed his footsteps as college professors.
Ken's memory will be treasured by sons Charles (Sandi) of East Lansing, Thomas of
Rohnert Park, CA, and David (Carolyn) of Storrs, CT, and daughter Penelope of Lansing.
He was very fond of his grandchildren Daniel (Robin) Atkin, Deborah (Randall) Hopp,
Arthur Atkin, and Annabelle Atkin, and great-grandsons Alex and Evan Hopp, and Tyler
and Bodie Atkin. A private memorial service is scheduled in July 2011. The family is
being served by Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes, East Lansing. On line condolences
may be made at www.gorlsineruncimaneastlansing.com.