James R. Atchley

Birth:Wednesday, August 8, 1923
Calhoun Co, Michigan
Death:Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Calhoun Co, Michigan
Obit:Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Calhoun Co, Michigan

James R. Atchley, 90, of Battle Creek died Tuesday October 8, 2013 at home. He was born on August 8, 1923 in Battle Creek to Roy and Mary Theresa (Marriott) Atchley.

Jim graduated from St. Philip High School in 1942 where he served as senior class president. In high school Jim became a team leader, and one of St. Philips best athletes, first as a center forward in basketball and as their "ace" pitcher in baseball.

After graduation in 1942, he worked the summer months at the Kellogg Company and played baseball in the city majors. In September 1942 he enrolled at MSU on a baseball scholarship and was looking forward to playing for MSU's legendary baseball coach John Kobs. He started his military training in State's ROTC program. But in the winter of 1943 he volunteered for military service and after training, his unit left for the South Pacific in November 1943. He received a Victory Medal, Asiatic Pacific Theater Ribbon w/4 Bronze Battle Stars, 4 overseas bars, one service stripe, and a Good Conduct Medal. He was quite proud to be a member of "The Greatest Generation" to serve on our fighting forces. Upon return to the United States, he started playing summer baseball when Cy Elliott, baseball scout offered him the opportunity to play baseball professionally. He signed with the St. Louis Cardinals team. His career continued to grow with baseball and he had the opportunity to play with and against some outstanding players and teams.

Although he never pitched in the major leagues, he did pitch against the Brooklyn Dodgers in spring training 1949. He said "Jackie Robinson was faster than greased lightning. He had two infield ground ball singles off me, and he stole 2nd, 3rd, and home. It was almost like his feet never left the ground when he ran, they just glided along". Jim retired from baseball in 1956 with a 107-68 record.

Jim married Virginia Bates on May 8, 1951, she died January 13, 1970. They had four children. After baseball Jim worked at Kellogg's until his retirement in 1986.

In November 1980 he married Helen Rose Magers and she preceded him in death on December 11, 2011. As a hobby he refinished antique furniture and also was very proficient at making custom golf clubs and as a golfer, he knew how to use them. Jim was inducted into St. Philip Athletic Hall of Fame on 2011. He enjoyed spending time with family and friends, and loved his winter home in Tampa, FL.

Jim is survived by children, Mary Vasquez, Patricia (Ed) Bell, and Thomas Atchley, all of Battle Creek, step-children, Judy (Joe) Markovich, Mike (Debbie) Magers, both of Battle Creek, James G. Magers, of Atlanta, GA; Patti Hill, od Erie, PA; Mary Lynne (Mike) Miles, of Tampa, FL; and John (Ann) Magers, of Lewiston, NY; eight grandchildren, sixteen step grandchildren, nine great grandchildren, a brother, Lewis B. Atchley, of Battle Creek, and a nephew Mike Orlowski, of Luther, MI. He was also preceded in death by a daughter, Sally Anne Atchley, a brother, Robert "John" Atchley, and sisters, Ann Atchley and Mary Orlowski.

Jim had been a member of St. Philip Catholic Church and St. Joseph Catholic Church. He also belonged to Knights of Columbus, council #575, American Legion Post 0225 and the Kellogg 25 Year Club.

Visitation will be held from 2pm to 4pm and 6pm to 8pm Monday October 14, 2013 at the Richard A. Henry Funeral Home where a Rosary will be recited at 7pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held 10am Tuesday at St. Philip Catholic Church. Interment will follow at Fort Custer National Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be given to St. Philip Catholic Church BCACS, or Lifespan Good Samaritan Hospice.

Source: Richard A. Henry Funeral Home

James R. Atchley

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