CABOT – All-around good guy, sportsman, hunter, Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins fan, Francis Edward (Pete) Atkins joined his favorite bird dogs Jackson, Lucy and Gus in hunting heaven on January 6, 2023, at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington.
He was born on July 6, 1940, in Brattleboro, the son of Alfred Winslow and Priscilla (Snelling) Atkins. He was a graduate of Brattleboro Union High School in 1958, and joined the U.S. Air Force in 1958, training in Texas and assigned to Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., where he spent his military career. While in North Dakota, he met and married Sandra Menge, and they were married for 62 years.
He first worked for Burrows Sport Shop in Brattleboro after leaving the military, and was a ski mechanic on weekends at Mount Snow. Pete worked at the Vermont Guide Service for several years. He drove delivery trucks throughout New England for C.E. Bradley Laboratories in Brattleboro, and later worked for St. Johnsbury Trucking in Westminster, and drove for Stow Mills (later United Natural Foods) in Chesterfield, N.H. He drove over a million miles throughout New England and the east coast during his driving career. He owned and operated the Trading Post Sport Shop, in Bellows Falls, with his family. He was a member of the Bellows Falls Elks Lodge 1619 for many years.
Pete was an accomplished bare-bow archer and with his family, was a member of Abenaqui Archers of Brattleboro, and the Vermont Bowmen, regularly competing in state and New England archery tournaments. He placed second in the New England Field Archery Tournament in 1963. Trap shooting was another competitive sport he enjoyed and he earned many trophies in trap shooting competitions.
Pete hunted extensively with family and friends in Newfoundland, Canada, for moose, Montana for mule deer and pronghorn antelope, Idaho for elk, and Anticosi Island, Quebec for whitetail deer; Cape Cod and the lakes and ponds of northern Vermont for ducks, Minnesota for whitetail deer, as well as every deer and bear season in Vermont for more than 70 years. His last hunting season was November with friends in Middlesex. Pete and his family took up bird hunting in the early ’80s, and with their trained bird dogs enjoyed hunting woodcock, ducks, geese, partridge and pheasant.
An avid fisherman, he fished on Cape Cod, Maine, Florida, California, Quebec and the brooks and rivers of Vermont. An accomplished canoeist, he led canoe trips as a member of the Vermont Guide Service, as well as joining canoe trips on the St. Johns and Allagash River in Maine, and with his son Michael, participated in white water canoe races on the West River in Jamaica and on the White River in Vermont.
Having lived with his family in Brattleboro for many years, the family bought land in Cabot, building a small off-the-grid hunting camp on a trail. The camp was expanded with more solar power and became a retirement home in 2003.
Pete is survived by his four children Michael Peter (Anne Corey) Atkins, Marie Atkins Blackwood, Erik Mitchel (Karen Freitas) Atkins and Kristen Rae Atkins, and a sister, Ann (Snelling) Magrone, six grandchildren, his best dog Lizzie, and nieces and nephews.
No services are planned at this time, but a memorial gathering will take place this summer. At his request, inurnment will be at a family plot in Ada, Minn.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Cabot
Emergency Ambulance Service.
Dian Holcomb of Northern Vermont Funeral Service in Hardwick, is in charge of arrangements.