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Thursday June 2nd, 2022
4:00pm - 8:00pm

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John Arthur Clare Atkins

Obituary for John Arthur Clare Atkins

John Arthur Clare Atkins, M.A. Cambridge, American, Brit and Gentleman has died May 21, 2022.  He leaves his wife of 60 years, the former Patricia Payne.  

John was born in Cranwell, England on 11 August 1935. He was the son of Arthur Clare and Beatrice Atkins. 

John and Pat met on Grand Cayman while he was surveying the island, and she was vacationing.  They fell in love instantly and they were married 6 months later.  They embarked on a lifetimeof adventure that would take them to West Africa, Bucks County, Elmira, NY, Bonaire Netherlands Antilles, and Cleveland, Ohio before returning to Clarks Summit.  John was employed by International Salt Company which later became Akzo Salt.

John loved to both play and watch golf, and he played courses around the world. He loved to plan surprise family trips, taking the crew to a variety of different and wonderful locations. Thesewere all mystery trips, never being revealed until a few days before – the suspense was made more fun with fake clues. John was fond of a good dessert and would never turn down any chocolate. John, along with the great Jack Stroney, was instrumental in getting the Abington Heights School Board to introduce soccer to the high school sports programs. Pat and John really enjoyed hosting amazing parties and events.  Whether it was a Fourth of July Fest, the winter bonfire, or any other party, they were always fun, well-planned and memorable.  Sorry if you missed any! They both also loved creating and managing Patsel’s restaurant – an amazing place for ambiance, food and celebration. John was a charming host, visiting every table, meeting people and creating new friendships.  Over the years, many people sought his counsel for both work and personal challenges.  His sound judgement helped guide many to make better decisions.  And being a great English gentleman with a steady disposition, most people are amazed that John put up with Pat for 60 years.

What follows is his rather busy biography:

Born in Cranwell, England - home of the Royal Air Force Staff College

(His father, Arthur, served in the R.A.F. for 26 years)

At elementary school during World War II in Cambridgeshire.

Father sent to Egypt in 1945 to help clean up R.A.F. equipment.

Family went by ship to Egypt in 1946. Lived in Ismalia on Suez Canal.

Returned by ship to England in 1947

● Went to Thetford Grammar School 1947-1954.

● On to Cambridge University 1954-1957. Received Master of Arts degree.

● Joined Royal Air Force Vol. Reserve. Cambridge University Air Squadron.

R.A.F. Pilot.

1957-1958 – Royal Engineers Survey School

1958 – Joined Directorate of Overseas Surveys (British Colonial Office)

● Did three tours of duty, putting in ground survey framework for control of aerial survey mapmaking.

1958-1959 – Tanzania Rift Valley, East Africa.

1959-1960 – Bahamas, Jamaica, Cayman Islands

1961 – Met Pat in Cayman Islands. Married in August 1961.

1961-1962 – North Nigeria Tour.

Returned to USA – Spent 5 years in Bucks County, PA while working for A. C. Jones Civil Engineers,

Mt. Holly, NJ.

Then joined International Salt Company, Clarks Summit, PA in production division.

● Worked at Watkins Glen, NY – Evaporated Salt Plant.

● Worked at Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles – Solar Salt Plant Construction.

● Worked at Cleveland, Ohio – Rock Salt Mine,

Then 25 years based at headquarters, for International Salt Company, later Akzo Salt,

Clarks Summit. Managed distribution, sales, and bulk stockpile network. Later named

Director of Safety, Environmental and Regulatory Affairs for USA.

Retired in 1997.

Never one to be idle, Pat and John began planning for arestaurant on land purchased in 1996.  Patsel’s operated betweenAugust 1999 and August 2014, during which Patsel’s received the AAA Four Diamond Award for 15 consecutive years.

John and Pat have lived in Waverly for 50 years. 

John’s Former Board Positions in the Community Included:

Trustee of Keystone College

Board Chairman, United Gilsonite Labs

Board Member and Past President of Junior Achievement

Board Member Scranton Cultural Center

Board Member NE Pennsylvania Philharmonic

Board Member Waverly Community House

Co-Chair Christmas Bureau Fund Drive

Chair Special Gifts Division United Way

Board Member Abington Community Library

Board Member Penn State Scranton Advisory Board

Board Member Boys & Girls Club Foundation

Whether you were part of the family, or worked with him or was his friend, it was an honor to know this man.

John is survived by his beloved and devoted bride Pat; Son Carter and his wife Hansook Atkins of Bethlehem, PA  and son Tim and his wife Tara Atkins of Dalton, PA.  Brother Douglas Atkins and his wife Connie Atkins of Garboldisham, England.  Grandchildren Royce, Andrew, Peter, Quincy and Spencer.  Various nieces and nephews in England, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

Charitable contributions in honor of John to The Boys and Girls Club of Scranton, Junior Achievement of NEPA or to the charity of their choice.

A special thank you to Gretchen Eagen Mackie and her wonderful staff of care workers and to the hospice of Sacred Heart for helping with John’s last weeks on this earth.

Funeral service will be private at the convenience of the family.  A Celebration of John’s Life will be held on June 2, 2022 at Constantino’s from 4 to 8 pm.

To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John Atkins, please visit our flower store.


My deepest condolences to you Pat and the entire family. John was a gentleman in the purest sense. He made the world better because of his presence. I’m a better man because of John. Your love and rich memories are the beauty of what remains. Much love to all of you, and may Christ bring you strength and peace.

Tom Garrity Jun 4 2022 6:36 AM

With sympathy in the loss of a great gentleman. It was
a honor to work with him on
the Pastel’s project. Jim Clark

James Clark Jun 1 2022 3:02 PM

I am so very sorry to hear of the loss of John. It is truly a loss. I will be forever grateful to (Pat and) John for the time I spent at Patsel’s. They were such a positive influence on what it meant to run a business and put customers and their experience first. Yet somehow, they balanced that perfectly with prioritizing their employees. John was such a happy, kind, and genuine person. I feel lucky to have known him. Sending lots of love to Pat and the family.

Allie Hollander May 31 2022 1:04 PM

Pat & Family
I am saddened to hear that my dear friend John has passed. We had many good times together while at Akzo. He was a true gentleman and always gave me great advice. He will be missed by all who knew him.

Bob Vanness May 30 2022 9:38 PM

Pat and Family,
We are so sorry to hear of John's death. From the early eighties, we remember well your fun summer parties playing volleyball and remember John's love of soccer. In recent times we appreciate yours and John's support for Outreach .
Bill Burnell and Kate Holod

Kate Holod May 29 2022 2:52 PM

Dear Pat and family. My prayers are with you during this difficult time. I always enjoyed my conversations with John and our competition for the cleanest vehicle. I know he would be honored by the beautiful obituary. We are all grateful for the shining path he leaves. May he rest in peace.

Ron Leas May 28 2022 12:17 PM

We are very sorry for your loss. I have very fond memories of John (Mr. Atkins) growing up. Making snow people and kites among a few.
Mark, Norma and Raeanne

Mark Gardner May 28 2022 10:55 AM

I’m so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with your family.

Mari Potis May 27 2022 10:13 AM

To Pat, Carter and the entire Atkins clan I send my deepest sympathy at the loss of one of my favorite people I've had the pleasure to know. He simply was the nicest, kindest person and I am very fortunate that our paths crossed at work, and with Junior Achievement. The last time we visited, it was at Patzel's where I enjoyed a delicious dinner and the wonderful Atkins hospitality. John's kindnesses will never be forgotten!

Susan (Gelb) Chase May 26 2022 6:22 PM

It is with great sadness that we hear of John's passing.
We regret that we are unable able to attend his celebration of life on June 2, as we will be finishing up a cruise in the Eastern Med.
Our memories cover too many years for the Fuller's, Payne's and Atkin's.
He will always be remembered as "The proper English Gentleman. "
Our hearts go out to you and your boys.
Please accept our deepest sympathies for your entire family.
Jim and Marge Fuller
33 Cutter Lane
Tiverton, RI

Jim & Marge Fuller May 26 2022 7:17 AM

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