Frieda Elizabeth Paul Atkinson, R.N., died peacefully Friday, November 19, 2021 in Stevensville, Michigan, at the age of 91.
A memorial service will be held 11 am Saturday, April 30, 2022 at Woodland Shores Baptist Church, 3555 W. Shawnee Road, Bridgman. A private family graveside service was held at Hickory Bluff Cemetery, Stevensville. In lieu of flowers, a memorial contribution may be made to the HERBIE Clinic, 3911 Stonegate Park Dr., Saint Joseph, Michigan, 49085, or a gift of support, time, or personal attention, in Frieda’s honor, would be welcomed anywhere you see that love is needed. Online condolences accepted at www.PikeFH.com.
Frieda was born in Aba, Belgian Congo (now Democratic Republic of Congo), the second of five children of Samuel Austin Paul and Elizabeth Riemann Paul, who were missionaries. As a young girl, she was baptized in the middle of a river teeming with crocodiles. Her father and a deacon, armed with guns, stood at either side of those holy waters to keep the crocodiles from participating.
After attending Rethy Academy, a missionary boarding school in Congo, Frieda graduated high school in the U.S., and studied at Columbia Bible College. She completed her training at Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing in Chicago.
There, Frieda met Dr. Herb Atkinson, whom she married in June 1954. They had five children and served for fifteen years in medical missions in Congo as “co-laborers together with Christ.”
On the family’s return to the U.S., Frieda continued her life of service, caring for her family, working with Herb at Southwestern Medical Clinic, leading neighborhood Bible studies, and teaching Sunday School at Woodland Shores Baptist Church for many years.
Throughout her life, Frieda showed deep love for her family, and wonderful creativity expressed in flower gardening, sewing, and music, especially playing hymns on the piano.
After Herb’s passing, Frieda served at HERBIE Clinic (Healthcare & Evangelism Reaching Beyond, Including Everyone), founded to provide free medical care for uninsured patients. For years, she played the piano in the waiting room and welcomed all.
A resilient and loving person, Frieda endured great hardships with remarkable faith. Now she joins dear ones in eternity – her parents, her beloved Herbie, son Peter Victor, granddaughter Becky, her siblings Harold, Vic, Jim, Mimi, and many friends.
Frieda’s surviving family members, filled with gratitude for her life, are her children and their spouses – David and Becky Atkinson, Dan and Aurora Atkinson, Ruth and Phil Woodruff, Essie and Tim Rueb; her grandchildren – Dylan, Dave & wife Sarah, Jacob, Andy & wife Sirimas, Austin, Elizabeth, Nick, Jon, Aaron, Justin; her great-granddaughter, Elise; and all to whom Frieda was “Mama ya Dunia” (“Mother of the World,” in Swahili).
Frieda’s favorite verses continue to resonate. Her words of wisdom uplift, especially these: “Ya must have fun!” and “Be good; and if you can’t, just be bad!”
The family greatly appreciates the staff at Pine Ridge Rehabilitation and Nursing Center who lovingly cared for Frieda these last several years. There will be a service of remembrance in Michigan in the Spring.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial contribution may be made to the HERBIE Clinic, 3911 Stonegate Park Dr., Saint Joseph, Michigan, 49085, or a gift of support, time, or personal attention, in Frieda’s honor, would be welcomed anywhere you see that love is needed.
“For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.” II Cor 5:19 (NLT)