Evert LeRoy Atkinson went to be with his Lord on August 19, 2023 after many years of battling Parkinson’s Disease. He was 79.
Evert was born March 13, 1944, in Fort Lewis, Wash., to Evert Sr. and Otila (Castillo) Atkinson. As a result of difficulties giving birth, Evert’s mother suffered significant brain damage and was confined to care facilities for the rest of her life. Consequently Evert was raised by his maternal grandparents, Frederico and Maria Beltran Castillo in Sacramento, Calif. They affectionately called him “Tito.” His cousin Estela Vasquez was like a sister to him throughout his life. His father later remarried and started a second family.
As a child, his Spanish-speaking grandparents sent him to an English-speaking Methodist Church where he learned about the love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ and accepted Him as Savior. Later he became a member of Meadowview Bible Church where several godly men had a great influence on his life.
In 1962 Evert graduated from C.K. McClatchy High School in Sacramento and went on to attend Sacramento City College for two years. While in high school he enrolled in ROTC and won several achievement awards. At City College he participated in the Civil Air Patrol program and was thrilled to get to fly in a plane.
After graduating from City College, he felt led to serve Jesus Christ as a pastor, and went to Briercrest Bible Institute in Caronport, Saskatchewan, Canada to prepare for the ministry. There he met his future bride, Gloria Gereau. They were married July 29, 1967 in Wausau, Wis.
After graduation from Briercrest in 1968, Evert was ordained by Meadowview Bible Church in 1969. He pastored six months in Ulm, Montana before moving to Washington where he served as a Camp counselor at Camp SAMBICA on Lake Sammamish near Bellevue. After this he pastored Hazelwood Bible Church and was later active in Highlands Community Church in Renton, Washington.
In 1972 Evert was called to pastor Coal Creek Church in Longview, Wash. For the first few years he worked at Cowlitz General Hospital in the billing department, at TolleyCraft doing finishing work on boats, and at Wayron Steel Fabrication. As the Church grew and was able to provide full support, Evert was able to volunteer time as a Spanish interpreter for the Sheriff's Office and serve as a volunteer fireman for the Cowlitz County Fire Department.
In his role as the father of three children Evert served as a volunteer chaperone for school field trips and with the Camp Fire Girls. He also coached Rebekah’s soccer team and served as assistant coach and umpire for Little League baseball. While at Coal Creek Church, Evert continued his education, earning a Bachelor of Arts from San Diego Bible College in 1980, followed by his Master of Theology degree in 1981.
He also taught a radio Bible class called “Time in the Word” broadcast on KBAM radio in Longview on Sunday mornings for over 30 years. He continued to minister at Coal Creek Church for 46 years until forced to retire in 2018 due to Parkinson’s Disease. His love of the Word of God and gracious spirit blessed the lives of many people over those years.
Evert is survived by his wife of 56 years, Gloria; a daughter, Maria (Jeff) Mann; a son, Peter (Jeannie) Atkinson; a daughter, Rebekah Atkinson; six grandchildren, Moriah, Micah, Jocelyn and Lyndelle Mann, Hannah (Zac) Geurin, and Jake (Erica) Atkinson; two stepgrandchildren, Nicole Hargett and RJ (Amanda) Hargett; four stepgreat-grandchildren, Riya and Raevyn Nelson, and Suellen and Zackary Hargett; his close cousin, Estela Vasquez; second cousins, Sonia Salcedo and Lisa Benadom; and three half-siblings, Earl (Beth) Atkinson, Elaine Gatlin, and Lyle (Karen) Atkinson.
He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Frederico and Maria Beltran Castillo; an infant brother; and his parents, Otila and Evert Atkinson Sr.
A celebration of Evert’s life will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30 at Calvary Community Church in Longview.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests you consider a donation to The Gideons, The Villager Assisted Living in Castle Rock, Wash., or the Parkinson’s Foundation.