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Atkinson owned Judson-Atkinson Candies with his children

January 5, 2017 GMT

Basil Eric Atkinson Jr., who served as executive vice president of Atkinson Candy Company and later bought, along with his children, Judson-Atkinson Candies in San Antonio, died Dec. 19 at 90.

Growing up working in the candy business his father started in the early 1930s, Atkinson ultimately choose to pursue a career in medicine, graduating from what was then Southwestern Medical School of the University of Texas in Dallas after serving in the Army during World War II.

Marrying in 1950, Atkinson did his residency at Santa Rosa Hospital in San Antonio before moving back to his hometown of Lufkin to start a practice in general medicine.

Known as “The Doctor,” Atkinson gained a loyal following of patients, many whom continued to seek his advice even after he closed his practice.

“They would not see another doctor,” his daughter Amy Atkinson said. “They would call him on the phone and he would tell them what to do, even when he moved to San Antonio.”

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Atkinson became more involved at Atkinson Candy Company at his brother’s request after the death of his nephew in the mid-1960s.

In addition to caring for the employees by doing physicals and providing other medical care, Atkinson was involved in other areas of the business.

“It was another outlet for him,” Amy Atkinson said. “He actually worked on equipment … could repair almost anything in the plant.”

Atkinson and his wife moved to San Antonio in 1983 after he and his children bought the failing Judson Candy Company, renaming it Judson-Atkinson Candies, Inc.

Continuing to work in several capacities, Atkinson also served as president of the company and retired, at 86, only after the company was sold in 2011.

Lifelong Republicans, Atkinson and his wife were active in local and national politics.

“They were very big politicos,” Amy Atkinson said. “The first ever Republican primary (in Angelina County) was held in the garage of the house I grew up in.”

Although too young to recall that event, Amy Atkinson does remember her parents mingling with George and Barbara Bush, Ronald Reagan and George W. and Laura Bush over the years.

“It was a very large part of their lives,” Amy Atkinson said.

mheidbrink@express-news.net