Harlin J. Atkinson, 90, of Willow City, passed away Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012, at his ranch.
Harlin James Atkinson was born June 19, 1922, on a farm in Ostby Township near Willow City, a son of Robert Atkinson and Freeda (Liebelt) Atkinson. He attended the "Semler" country school for eight years, and graduated from Willow City High School in 1940. On Nov. 7, 1942, he enlisted in the Marine Corps. While at Camp Pendleton, Oceanside, Calif., he married Bernice Ruth Hanson on April 25, 1943. While in the Marine Corps, he served in the South Pacific. On the way to Japan, he flew over the ship where the signing to end World War II was held. He then served with his unit in Occupied Japan. He was honorably discharged Nov. 27, 1945. He returned to North Dakota and began farming and ranching.
He and Bernice raised four children together. He was involved in many activities throughout his life.
Harlin enjoyed breeding, training and showing Appaloosa horses. He was a charter member and president of the Rough Rider's Saddle Club. He was past president of the North Dakota Appaloosa Horse Association and a member of the Souris Valley Breeder's Association. Among the many trophies, awards and ribbons that line the arena on his ranch is the World's reserve champion reining horse award received at the World's Championship Competition held in Oklahoma City.
He also served on the Willow Creek Township Water Board and was a member of the American Legion and Presbyterian Church.
He is survived by: his wife, Bernice Atkinson; daughters, Jacqueline Fecho (Loren) and Lisa Atkinson; sons, Brian Atkinson, (Jodi) and Van Atkinson (Susie); 10 grandchildren, Renata Prellwitz (Gary), Brandon (Lori) and Blaine (Dawn) Fecho, Tyler (Krystall), Burton (Erica) Charles and Spencer (Miranda) Atkinson, Cole (Gretchen) and Casey Atkinson, Max Peterson; and 16 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Howard Atkinson.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, Dec. 29, 10 a.m., at First Lutheran Church in Willow City.
Burial will be at Memorial Park Cemetery of Willow City, in the spring.
Visitation will be held today, Friday, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., in Nero Funeral Home, Bottineau.
Arrangements are with Nero Funeral Home of Bottineau.
Friends may sign the online register at (www.nerofuneralhome.net).