Bevarly Truman (B.T.) Atherton, age 84, of Owensboro, Kentucky, died on November 8, 2018. Known for his community involvement, kindness, generosity, and, later in life, his wickedly funny and often irreverent sense of humor, he was well-liked in life and will be remembered fondly in death.
Mr. Atherton was born in McLean County, Kentucky, on Christmas Eve, 1933, the second and last child, and only son, of the late General Truman and Londa Omega Atherton, née Whitehouse, both of Livermore. Throughout his early life, B.T. raised livestock on his family's farm, delivered groceries and butchered meat for his parents' store, developed advanced skill as an accomplished carpenter, and was a beloved singer of popular songs throughout local venues and on radio. He graduated from Livermore High School in May, 1952, and immediately, in June, married his high school sweetheart and life-long love, Winnie Bell Atherton, née Brown, also of Livermore. He served one enlistment in the US Navy, during which he toured Europe and northwest Asia as an electrical specialist in the nascent days of the military's expansion and implementation of radar and sonar technologies. He and his wife lived throughout the US including stints in Norfolk, Virginia; Washington, DC; Sterling, Illinois; and Paoli, Indiana. With their young family, they returned to Owensboro in 1967. B.T. first sold insurance before representing territories for Sunoco and DX oil companies throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
In 1987, he began opening early franchise locations of Little Caesar's Pizza. He continued opening and managing his pizza restaurants throughout Kentucky and Indiana until he retired in 1991, when he and Winnie began traveling the world. Their passion for international adventures dominated the next twenty years of their life together. They spent many consecutive months abroad and, in later years, widely toured the US until they retired from significant travel to enjoy quiet Kentucky living, surrounded by friends and family in Owensboro. Mr. Atherton was active at First Baptist Church for more than thirty years including leadership roles as Deacon, Trustee, and Chairman of Trustees. He also participated in many building and missions projects with First Baptist Church, Yellow Creek Baptist Church, and other congregations throughout the US and organized many successful philanthropic efforts including his own often anonymous payment of full university and seminary books and tuition expenses for promising students from the 1980s into the 2000s; many of these then-students still lead and serve locally today.
He was additionally an enthusiastic outdoorsman. B.T. loved dogs and training them to hunt by his side, and he had close bonds with his many canine companions through his long hunting years. He hunted extensively across Kentucky, Alaska, Maine, and Canada. He was an accomplished angler and fished locally and throughout Canada, the US, and the South Florida Keys. More recently, he loved feeding dozens of ducks and geese on his quiet lake at home each day.
Mr. Atherton was preceded in death by his parents, Londa and Truman Atherton, and his sister, Joy Thurman, all of Livermore; and by his wife of 65 years, Winnie Bell Atherton, for whom he lived each day and mourned profoundly since her death in 2013, and his grand-daughter, Melissa Belle Baber, both of Owensboro.
He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Bruce D. and Karen Atherton, and grand-daughter, Emma Lee Atherton Frey, all of Louisville; his daughter and son-in-law, Sherry and Gilbert Baber, of Owensboro; and his grand-son, Matthew Atherton Baber, of Owensboro and Nashville, Tennessee.
The service will be 10 AM Monday, November 12, 2018 at Glenn Funeral Home and Crematory. Rev. Jerry Tooley and Dr. Paul Strahan will officiate. Entombment will be in Rosehill Cemetery. The visitation will be 1-4 PM Sunday and 9 AM until service time on Monday at the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may be kindly expressed in memory of Mr. B.T. Atherton through contributions to The Melissa Belle Baber Memorial Fund, a charitable entity remembering Mr. Atherton's late grand-daughter to benefit educational and philanthropic initiatives, and may be made in person or by mail to the Owensboro Public Schools Foundation, 450 Griffith Avenue, Owensboro, Kentucky 42301.
Memories and condolences for the family of Bevarly Truman (B.T.) Atherton may be shared at www.glenncares.com