Mr. Atherton was a member of the First Baptist Church in Dexter where he served as Deacon. He was a Christian for over 60 years, a veteran of the United States Army serving in World War II, a veteran of the Missouri National Guard with over 33 years of service, the former operator of Airport Cafe and Pete's Cafe in Dexter, a former employee of Fram, the owner of Pete's Mowing Service and was honored as the Dexter Chamber of Commerce 1993 Man of the Year.
He was first united in marriage to Lillian Lucille Ragsdel on Nov. 29, 1937, and to this union, six children were born. Lillian went to be with the Lord on Oct. 18, 1982. He was then married to Melba Smith in 1983. Mrs. Atherton survives of the home in Dexter.
Besides his wife, he is survived by one son, Ron Atherton (Judi) of Dexter; four daughters, Barbara Gard (Don) of Dexter, Judy Lincoln (Jim) of Eldon, Patty Greene (Jim) of Springfield and Norma Crane (Gary) of Rogers, Ark.; his daughter-in-law, Mariedda Atherton of Dexter; one step-son, David Smith of St. Peters; nephew, Ralph Hall; 13 grandchildren, 27 great-grandchildren; and two great-great grandchildren; also by other relatives and friends.
Besides his first wife and parents, he was preceded in death by one son, Dwain Atherton; one granddaughter, Janetta Lincoln Drake; by one great-grandson, Jaiden Charles Atherton.
Visitation was held at the First Baptist Church in Dexter from 5-8 p.m., Monday, March 10, 2008.
Funeral services were conducted at 10 a.m., Tuesday, March 11, 2008, in the First Baptist Church with Rev. Don Kennedy, Pastor Martha Tennyson and Dr. Curtis Porter officiating.
Interment followed in the Missouri Veterans Cemetery at Bloomfield. Rainey-Mathis Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Memorials may be made to the First Baptist Church Building Fund in Dexter.