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Welcome to the memorial page for

Lou Ella (Borden) Atkins

November 17, 1916 ~ November 22, 2017 (age 101)

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Lou Ella grew up in Long Beach, California. Around the time she graduated from high school, her father, who worked for the Veteran’s Administration, had a rapid succession of appointments that took him, and the family, to Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Denver. Despite the difficulties involved with moving, Lou Ella completed a college education in this time, attending UCLA, Arizona State Teachers College (now Arizona State University), and finally, Denver University. She graduated from Denver University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Zoology in 1939.


With few job opportunities open to women in the field of Zoology in 1939, Lou Ella found employment instead as a teacher. She taught school in the Colorado towns of Harstel, Oak Creek, and Brighton, then left teaching to join the Army in 1943. Following her discharge from the Army in 1945 she went back to teaching, this time in Laramie, Wyoming and Burlington, Colorado.


Lou Ella moved to Whittier, California in 1948, after obtaining a teaching job there. She followed three of her brothers, who had returned to Southern California to open up a lumber yard. Shortly after moving she became re-acquainted with a childhood friend, Jack Atkins. They married in September 1948. They had two sons: James (born 1950) and Joseph (born 1952). Their marriage lasted 53 years.


Lou Ella moved with Jack and their sons to the San Fernando Valley (a part of Los Angeles) in 1954. The following year she resumed her teaching career, this time with Los Angeles City Schools, and continued teaching until retirement. While teaching she earned a master’s degree in Education from California State University Northridge. Following retirement, she and Jack traveled extensively, seeing much of the world along the way.


Lou Ella moved to Farmington in 2003, following Jack’s death, to be closer to her son, James, and his family. She became an important part of the family, beloved as a mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She will be missed by all.


Lou Ella will always be remembered by those who knew her as exceptionally bright woman. Her intelligence provoked not only admiration, but also inspiration, and it is there that it lives on in many of us.


 Service Information

Memorial Service
December 17, 2017

3:00 PM
St. John's Episcopal Church
312 North Orchard Avenue
Farmington, New Mexico 87401

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