Obituary: Robert L. Atkison Sr. / Councilman, EMT and volunteer in Peters

May 12, 1932 - July 7, 2013

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Robert L. Atkison Sr. spent 22 years on the Peters Township Council, but his dedication to the community did not end when the council meetings did.

A trained Emergency Medical Technician, Mr. Atkison invested more than 30 years of volunteer service with the Peters Township Ambulance Service, including time as assistant director.

"He once vowed he would quit the moment the service offered him a penny to continue," his daughter Tracey Smith said

Mr. Atkison, a 50-year resident of Peters who was the longest-serving member on council, died July 7. He was 81.

Mr. Atkison attended West View High School and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1953 with a degree in mechanical engineering. Mr. Atkison then had 40-year career in the industrial field and was a veteran in the U.S. Army.

He worked as a mechanical engineer for Falk Industries before he retired in 1993.

He was proudest, however, of his work on major projects in his community. He played a vital role in the expansion of Peterswood Park and Peters Lake Park, the Montour Trail and the ambulance garage, his daughter said.

"He always saw things from a different perspective and truly gave his heart in everything he laid his hands on," said Thomas McMurray, director of the Peters Township Ambulance Service.

Mr. Atkison assumed a management position as the assistant director of the ambulance service after he retired at age 70 because he didn't want his limited physical abilities on the scene of accidents to stand in the way of the younger EMTs.

Also a member of the Dormont-Mt. Lebanon Sportsmen's Club since 1963, he served three terms as its president and served on the board of directors.

"Having worked shoulder to shoulder with Mr. Atkison, I can tell you that he was knowledgeable, educated, determined and distinctive in ideas about what was wrong and what was right," said Bruce Ungar, merchant and sportsmen's club board member.

"It's only fitting that Frank Sinatra's 'My Way' was one of three songs played at his funeral," his daughter said.

Survivors include his wife, Ann; four children, Ms. Smith, Judith Brimmeier, Amy Hamilton and Robert L. Atkison Jr.; a sister, Shirley Foliart; eight grandchildren; and one great grandchild.

The funeral was held Friday. Donations may be made to the Peters Township Ambulance Service, 300 Municipal Drive, McMurray 15317.


Kelton Brooks: or 412-263-1601.


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