Dr. Basil Atkinson
Class of 2011
Dr. Basil E. Atkinson Jr. was born August 28, 1926, to Basil Sr. and Mabel. He has a brother, Joe. He attended Lufkin High School in the Texas town of the same name, graduating in 1943.
In 1945, he was drafted into the Army, entering medical clerk school after basic training, and was assigned to Army ships operating in the Pacific.
B.E. married Frances on June 22, 1950, in Durant, OK, and together they have four children: Dennis, Eric, Rinda and Amy.
After being discharged from the service, B.E. attended Stephen F. Austin State University and then studied medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, graduating in 1957 with a doctorate of medicine, general practitioner.
He moved his family to Lufkin, TX, upon graduation and opened a medical practice, which he ran until 1964.
However, his candy roots reach back some 52 years when he got involved with the family business in the early 1930s, riding in the Atkinson Candy Co. route trucks selling candy. He later worked in the factory dipping chocolate and sweeping floors.
In 1965, B.E. returned to the family business as the company doctor, and five years later he became executive vice-president of Atkinson Candy.
In 1983, he negotiated the purchase of Judson Candy Co., which was set to close, which led to the start of Judson-Atkinson Candies, Inc.
He became president of the company, a position he retained until stepping down in early 2011, and is succeeded by his daughter Amy. He remains with the company as an adviser to both Judson-Atkinson and Atkinson Candy.
During his career, B.E. sat on the NCA’s board of directors and was also on its research committee.
He has been nominated for a Kettle Award and is the recipient of the 2010 Doc Reed Silver Candy Dish Award.
Away from the industry, B.E. has been active in politics, being elected to Lufkin city council twice in addition to serving as the city’s mayor pro-term from 1972 to 1973.
Following B.E. into the candy business are three of his children, Eric, Amy and Rinda, as well as four of his grandchildren, Jeremy, Stephanie, Rachel and Sarah.
Basil passed away December 19, 2016.