George Atkins, Former Hopkinsville Mayor, Dies at 82

George Atkins, who served as mayor of Hopkinsville and later a state officeholder and cabinet secretary for the governor, died on Sunday at 82.

When Atkins was a small child, his father George Sr. moved to a farm on Lafayette Road and started the first locally owned pasteurized milk processing plant.

Atkins grew to be 6-foot-6 and landed a basketball scholarship to the University of Kentucky where he was a three-year member of Coach Adolph Rupp’s Wildcats.

He graduated from UK in 1963 and was appointed mayor of Hopkinsville in May 1972 when Alfred Naff was appointed to a position in Frankfort. Atkins, a Democrat, was the youngest person to serve as president of the Hopkinsville Chamber of Commerce and had no prior political experience when he was appointed by a 9-2 vote by the city council to fill the remainder of Naff’s term.

Atkins didn’t serve a full term as mayor and was elected state auditor in 1975. Atkins ran against Julian Carroll for governor in 1979 but dropped out of the race and endorsed John Y. Brown Jr., who would be elected and appoint Atkins as his finance secretary and later cabinet secretary.

Atkins ran for Lt. Governor in 1983 but lost to Steve Beshear.

A memorial service will be held Friday morning at 11:00 at Pearson’s Funeral Home in Louisville. A visitation will be held in Hopkinsville on Saturday from 2:00 until 4:00 at Hughart, Beard and Giles Funeral Home.