Feb 12, 2011 11:42 PM by Danielle Lerner

Hundreds of people celebrate the life of Obbie Atkinson

In Paso Robles hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the life of Obbie Atkinson. Atkinson died February 4 after a plane crash near Cal Poly two weeks ago. The 86-year-old aviator from Paso Robles was a passenger in the single-engine plane. He first started flying as a captain of B-29s during World War Two.

Atkinson spent most of his days at the Estrella Warbird Museum in Paso Robles where he was a founding member and docent. On Saturday morning that is where friends and family said their final farewells.

Several aviators took their tributes to the sky as hundreds of people and a Marine Corps Honor Guard gave their final salutes to a man who meant so much to so many.

"Most pilots like that, that is how they would like to go out is up in the air," said Elizabeth Miller, director of the Estrella Warbird Museum. "He's in a better place it's just, we're having a hard time."

Saturday's celebration was filled with memories and even some humor.

"I know dad would have been rendered speechless by this and I think we all know just how rarely he was speechless," said Joe Atkinson, Obbie's son.

All to honor a beloved father and friend.

"My father would say, 'I just want to give you children roots and wings,' and I think we know what he meant by that, and he certainly did give us all both the roots and the wings," said Sue Lyn Goldman, Obbie's daughter.

A final goodbye and a hero's salute to a local aviator whose legacy will live on for years to come.

"He was a beautiful, beautiful man and I will always be proud to have been his son," said Obbie Ted Atkinson, Obbie's son.

Atkinson leaves behind a wife, four children, 15 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren.

The pilot of the plane that crashed, 66-year-old Jeffrey Wells of Newport Beach, suffered minor injuries.


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