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James Olin Atkins



James Olin Atkins, 87, died on January 15, 2023. He was born on June 22, 1935 to Lola Wilder and John Wendell Atkins, Sr. in McKenzie, Tenn..  He met the love of his life and high school sweetheart, Norma Deck at McKenzie High School.  They married on July 15, 1956.  

Olin is survived by his wife of 66 years, Norma Atkins; daughter, Renée Karban (Larry) of Memphis; son, Stephen Atkins (Ellen) of Memphis; grandchildren, Blake Karban (Krystal); Drew Karban (Morgan); Rachel Montague (Ross); Stephanie Atkins (Maxx Young); Lauren Atkins; great-grandchildren, Emma and Camille Karban, Rhodes Karban; Lacey, James and Davy Montague; niece, Nancy Evans (Don) and nephew, John Atkins (Dana) of Nashville and their families.

Olin graduated with a BA from Memphis State College in 1957 and received his MA from Memphis State University in 1958.  He was bestowed most Distinguished Alumni in 1987.  He loved the University of Memphis and supported education and athletic programs there his entire life.  He was a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity receiving the Significant Sig award in 2008.

Olin loved people and was passionate about teaching and helping others.  After a brief period in education, he began his lifelong career in the financial services business in 1961.  He left Morgan Stanley with a few associates, including his son-in-law, Larry Karban and started Atkins Capital Management, LLC in 2006.  Always the teacher, he educated and helped his clients while mentoring many others in business and life.  

Olin and Norma loved to travel the world with their friends.  They visited numerous countries on five continents and were in West Berlin when The Wall came down in 1989.  

They loved Montana and spent many years exploring the people, culture and beauty of the state.  For 30 years, they spent summers in Big Sky where they entertained family and friends by sharing the wonder and beauty of the Big Sky area, Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. His children and grandchildren have many fond family memories of spending the summers in Montana hiking and exploring. 

Olin loved his family well. His children will remember him for his steadfast love, generosity, and encouraging letters. His grandchildren will remember him as “O”, always there with a big laugh and smile, proud of their achievements no matter the size. He attended every sporting event. He cherished the time he spent with his grandchildren and loved making memories, going as far as taking them on a Disney Cruise (the stories are never-ending). Olin challenged them to dream big because he genuinely believed they could do anything. The grandchildren will continue to honor his legacy by living life as he did – full of laughter, love, and adventure, while never forgetting the importance of family.

The family is forever grateful to the many caregivers who loved him well at Trezevant Terrace, Allen Morgan and Avalon Hospice.  

Friends are invited to gather with the family, Saturday, January 28 at Christ Methodist Church, 4488 Poplar Ave, Memphis.  Visitation begins at 10 a.m. with a Celebration of Life service to follow at 11 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, please send memorials to Golden Cross Senior Ministries Endowment Fund, Church Health Center, or to a charity of the donors’ choice.


James Olin Atkins, McKenzie Tennessee