James Neil Atkinson passed away on July 31, 2010 at the age of 81. Jim was born in Deland, FL but was reared through his teen years in Rome and Lake Placid, NY. He was a son of Clarence John and Eleanor Graham Atkinson. Jim served in the U.S. Air Force as a Special Agent, Office of Special Investigations, worked at Bell Aircraft, Sylvania, TRW System Group, Xerox Corporation, Northern Electric (Montreal, Canada). During his career, he experienced extensive domestic and international travel. He retired as Director of Corporate Security for Johnson and Johnson Worldwide.He was a key contributor in 1982 when J&J experienced a major crisis when it was discovered that numerous bottles of its Extra-Strength Tylenol capsules had been laced with cyanide. How Johnson and Johnson dealt with this situation set a new precedent for crisis management. A massive recall of more than 31 million bottles was ordered and the era of tamper-resistant caplets was initiated. He was always proud of his company's decision.
Jim is survived by Kathryn Hawley Atkinson, his wife of 43 years whom he said is “the most loving and caring person one could hope for.” He is also survived by three wonderful children and their spouses. James Scott (Donna) Atkinson, Deborah Lynn Atkinson (Sam) Schillaci and Jody Ann Atkinson (Roger) Swingle, and four grandchildren; James N. Atkinson, Jeffrey S. Atkinson, Trevor S. Swingle, Emma H. Swingle all of upstate New York. Also surviving is a niece, Polly Broga Geer of Maryland and a cousin, Priscilla Beardsley Glenn of Atlanta, GA.
Jim was a member of the USA bobsled team that won a silver medal in the 1952 Olympics. He also won World Championships in 1949 and 1950. He is recognized in the Rome, NY Sports Hall of Fame.
Jim was President and Chairman of the Board of his professional society. The American Society for Industrial Security ( Intl. ASIS.) before he retired and moved to Black Mountain, NC. He was a member of St. James Episcopal Church and will be interred there. A memorial service will be held at the church on August 14, at 3 pm. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in Jim Atkinson’s honor to the St. James Episcopal Church Foundation, PO Box 1087, Black Mountain, NC 28711 or to Four Seasons Hospice Care Center, 571 South Allen Road, Flat Rock, NC 28731.
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