Leona Johnson Atkins, 85, of Nashville, Tenn., died Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2009. She was born Sept. 12, 1924 in Marathon, the daughter of H.C. and Merle Johnson.
In the early 40s, she and her twin sister, Lois, made up the singing duo “The Johnson Twins.” While performing on radio station WLW in Cincinnati, she met Chet Atkins and they married in 1946.
Mrs. Atkins was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Chester Burton Atkins; three brothers, Walter, Elton and John Johnson and six sisters, Lois Burns, Dorothy Fomorin, Betty Riggs, Evelyn Adamson, Ann Phillips and Ruth Marie Riggs.
She is survived by one daughter, Merle Atkins Russell; two grandchildren, Amanda (Chad) Sawyer and Jonathan (Carrie) Russell; two great grandsons; one brother, Earl Johnson of Hamilton; five sisters, Norma Jean Fox and shirley Kautz both of Dayton, Virginia Komo and Catherine Smith both of Milford and Florence Ritchey of Mt. Orab; one sister-in-law, Billie Rose Shockley and numerous nieces and nephews.
Funeral services were held Oct. 24 at Harpeth Hills Funeral Home in Nashville, Tenn.
Pallbearers were Shannon Bare, David Conrad, Vince Gill, Jonathan Russell, Chad Sawyer, Tim Shockley, Steve Wariner, Harry Warner and William Russell. Honorary pallbearers were Gary Atkins, Chris Anderson, Gloria Bass, Pat Bergeson, Don and Phil Everly, Garrison Keillor, Kevin King, Nina Sivek, Ray Stevens, Bonnie Taggert, Brandon Taylor, Cindy Taylor, Matthew Taylor and Paul Yandell.
Memorials may be made to Willowbrook Hospice, 381 Riverside Drive, Suite 440, Franklin, Tenn. or Chet Atkins Music Education Fund, P. O. Box 440225, Nashville, Tenn. 37244.