Mary F. Atkinson (neé Heaney) (age 87) passed away Thursday, June 3, 2021, peacefully, surrounded by her loving family. Mrs. Atkinson grew up in Philadelphia and was a graduate of John W. Hallahan High School. As a youngster, she spent her summers in the Wildwoods with her parents Lawrence and Catherine, and her three brothers, Larry, Tom, and John. After moving permanently to Wildwood Crest in 1969, she was active in community politics, she participated in the Girl Scouts and Brownies, and enjoyed regular events at the old Wildwood Crest Pier, when community games and talent nights were on the weekly schedule. You could often find her community activism in the Letters to the Editor section of the local papers. She had eleven children and a very large extended family, and invested her life in making other people happy. For most people, that would have been enough, but she could never be contained. She was a business woman, running several different businesses in her day, from video stores to farm stands along south Route 9. She had a talent for word puzzles and was always interested in the latest gadgets. She was an avid gardener, both indoors and out, with a house full of plants and backyard gardens filled with tomatoes, strawberries, flowers and fruit trees. One of her favorite activities was spending the day at the beach with her family. Throughout the summer, she could be found swimming in the ocean, relaxing under an umbrella, or strolling by the water's edge. In her later years, she loved going on morning bike rides to watch the dolphins jump the sandbar from the benches at 2nd street beach. But for Mary, her passion in life was music. She was a gifted singer and musician, and could play any number of instruments. If you were strolling by her home on Wisteria Road, you were often treated to a tune as she sang and played her piano. Those who knew her well will never forget her beautiful voice, or hearing her organizing her children into harmony. She was also a woman with a very strong faith, who loved to read the Bible and talk about God. If you lost something or weren’t feeling well, you could always count on Mary to take your hand and pray for God’s help or comfort. She also studied the books of the bible in depth, and enjoyed detailed discussion of the lessons and concepts she found meaningful. With her indomitable energy, sparkling wit, her boundless faith, and her nurturing spirit, she touched the lives of so many people. She was dearly, dearly loved and will be sorely missed. She was predeceased by her husband, William “Bill" Atkinson, her daughter, Mary Frances, her daughter-in-law, Jackie (Atkinson) Campbell, her son-in-law, Wayne Borne, her grandson, Ray Ray, her brother, Lawrence Heaney, and her sister-in-law, Ellen Heaney. She is survived by her brothers and sisters-in-law, Tom Heaney, John and Evelyn Heaney, and Valarie Heaney, her children, Bill Atkinson (and Betty Walsh), Cathy (and John) King, Susan (and Lou) McCullough, Linda Borne, Debby (and Ray) Wittschen, Helen (and Dave) Horner, Laurie Doran, Bob (and Redempta) Atkinson, Larry Atkinson, Craig (and Barbara) Atkinson, 23 grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren, dozens of cousins and nieces and nephews, and many many longtime friends. Friends and family are encouraged to donate to The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America in lieu of flowers and cards.
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