Obbie Ted Atkinson, M.D. of Richland died June 30, 2019, surrounded by his family at his home, after a courageous battle with cancer.
A private family gathering and celebration of Obbie’s life took place on Tuesday, July 2.
Obbie Ted was born in 1945 at Mount Vernon, Illinois, to Doris and Obbie Atkinson Sr. Like his father, a World War II pilot, Obbie was fascinated with flight, and after graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1967 he served as a jet pilot flying the C-141 and C-123 in Vietnam. One of the C-123 aircraft he piloted, which the crew nicknamed “Patches,” was hit more than 500 times by ground fire. It is now displayed at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
After an honorable discharge from the Air Force, Obbie entered medical school at 29 and became a general practice M.D. at Paso Robles, California, where he had three children with his first wife, Dinah Lundbeck. He served thousands of patients of all ages during his 35 years in practice, and was immensely loved by the community. He was a doctor of extraordinary compassion and presence, and it was a running joke among his staff that some patients — particularly community elders — came to his office simply for a dose of his attention and love.
Obbie was both a healer and a builder: He was a skilled carpenter who built large and small homes, furniture, model ships and airplanes. He loved to sail, and retained a lifelong hobby of flying light aircraft. His boots took him into the high Sierras many times on backcountry excursions, and he felt a special kinship with John Muir in his exploration and love of that remote wilderness.
In 2000, Obbie married Connie Minshull/Lambie. That year began a two-decade romance with the open road and with each other, as the couple logged hundreds of thousands of miles road-tripping to visit friends, family, and remote places. In 2005 Obbie and Connie bought a 120+-year-old farm house in Richland, which they meticulously converted into their own piece of heaven.
Hard-working and accomplished as he was, Obbie was humble and modest. Adventurous as he could be, Obbie was most content with the simple things in life: the quiet beauty of the outdoors, companionship, and the sharing of stories.
Obbie is survived by his wife, Connie; his mother, Doris; his children, Amanda, Jennifer and Jacob; his stepdaughter, Sarah; his siblings, Sue Lynn, Joe, and David; his grandchildren, Contessa, Isis, Trace, Walker, Charlie, Lucca and Daisy; and countless other loving family and friends.
For those who would like to make a donation in memory of Obbie, the family has suggested Eagle Valley Ambulance Service through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home & Cremation Services, P.O. Box 543 Halfway, OR 97834. Online condolences may be made at www.tamispinevalleyfuneralhome.com
Kelly Michelle Keener, 44, of Baker City, died on June 25, 2019, of natural causes.
A celebration of her life will take place Saturday, July 13 at 1 p.m. at New Beginnings Fellowship, 1820 Estes St. A reception will follow the service.
Kelly was born at Arcata, California, to Wellman (Larry) and Martha Keener. She graduated from Baker High School in 1992 and for the next 26 years she moved around in Montana and Oregon. She had a special place in her heart for her nephew and nieces. She loved them unconditionally.
She is survived by her parents, Wellman (Larry) and Martha Keener; her sisters, Vicki Richards (Judd) and Rebecca Rogers; her nephew, Cody Richards; her nieces, Laney Richards, Rachel Rogers and Samantha Rogers.
She will be missed.