Elisha H. Atkins

Elisha H. Atkins

May 16th, 1949 August 7th, 2019

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Obituary for Elisha H. Atkins

Elisha Hornblower “Skip” Atkins, 70, of Cambridge, MA, died suddenly on August 7, 2019. Through his work as a primary care physician at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Chelsea Healthcare Center, he touched countless people’s lives. Although humble and self-deprecating about his professional accomplishments, he leaves a long list of them in his wake, among them: Unit Chief of MGH Chelsea Adult Medicine from 2009-2019; chairman of the City of Chelsea Board of Health for more than a decade; and the Medical Director of the Employee Health Service at MGH for many years. In 2009 he received a Partners In Excellence Award for Outstanding Performance and Commitment to Excellence. Proficient in five languages, Skip was a fierce advocate for MGH Chelsea’s immigrant and refugee patients, helping to coordinate a legal clinic to assist them in immigration matters, and spearheading meetings with community agencies to discuss issues facing MGH Chelsea’s Latino patients and staff.

Those accolades, however, hardly defined his life. His family, friends, patients and coworkers will remember him for his deep and enduring compassion and humor. It’s no surprise that he was beloved by all whose paths he crossed. Coworkers sometimes found it difficult to go out to lunch with him if pressed for time, because on the way he would inevitably be stopped by at least half a dozen patients or former patients passing on their greetings or asking for a quick sidewalk consult. Similarly, many family trips were delayed because Skip had stopped on the way home from work to help someone fix a flat tire or to break up a fight outside a bar. With those who knew him best, Skip was no less generous, pouring his time and energy into supporting loved ones. He particularly loved playing games with his nieces and grandkids, taking them on outings to Santa’s Village, and introducing them to the joys of music and gardening. Although Skip was agnostic, the religious among us know that he earned express entrance into the Pearly Gates; the more secular hold him dear for the radiant human achievement of having walked his talk.

Skip is survived by his wife Maureen Colton; his mother Elizabeth Atkins; his daughters Kirsten Colton and Siobhan Atkins; his niece Gabriella McIntyre; his siblings Ruth, Rick, Natasha, and David Atkins; his grandchildren Dylan and Ava Issler; and many cousins, nephews and nieces. He was the son of the late Elisha Atkins and the father of the late Elizabeth Atkins. Skip did not want any traditional services, but a memorial service will be held in the fall. For those wishing to make a donation in Skip’s memory, contributions can be sent to MGH Chelsea Healthcare Center, 151 Everett Avenue, Chelsea MA 02150.

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Marylou Thompson

Maureen, I am so sorry to hear of your husband Skips passing. Our mutual friend Elsa just told me and we both are sorry we didn't know sooner as we would have reached out. Please know that you and your family are in our prayers.
Mary Lou from LSP
Comment | Posted at 12:22pm via Condolence

Kim and Alex

Skip has always listened to others, with compassion and deep hearted humour. We were fortunate to share his wits, football enthusiasm and musical talents at family reunions. His memory will remain with us. Kim and Alex
Comment | Posted at 10:08am via Condolence

Bill Potter

It is hard for me to grasp that I have lost a nephew and a dear friend. I mined his deep knowledge and appreciated his ever-cheerful smile. When we were in conversation together, he would look me closely in the eye and follow every word, no matter how inconsequential, and often respond with enlightened clarity of thought. We are so fortunate to have had Skip in our family and his loss leaves a void that cannot be filled…ever.
Comment | Posted at 08:53am via Condolence

Annette Foote

My condolences to Doctor Atkins family friends and MassGeneral Chelsea. Doctor Atkins was kind had compassion and a sense of humor. Doctor Atkins was my Doctor for over 20 years. He was the best. At my appointments he really cared about what you had to say, he would ask about my family he knew my children by their name. One year when I was admitted for my asthma In Mgh Boston he had come to see how I was doing. Doctor Atkins knew I loved a cup of coffee and he had brought me a coffee which absolutely made my day. That was Doctor Atkins he cared about his patients. I was heartbroken to hear of Doctor Atkins passing and I am grateful to have had Doctor Atkins for my Doctor.
Sincerely Annette Foote
Comment | Posted at 08:47pm via Condolence

Stephen Mascis

Dr. Atkins was a class act . I am totally shocked to hear of his passing seeing that I had an appointment with him on August 2 and we had a few laughs as usual. He always made you feel at ease and made it a point to talk to you about everyday things like family,vacations,restaurants Etc. There was never a time limit on your appointment when it was over to was over. He was more than just my doctor for 29yrs he was a friend. I want to thank the Atkins Family for sharing him with all of us. Dr Atkins was a blessing to everyone around him and he will be truly missed for my years to come and will never be replaced. Sincerely Stephen C. Mascis
Comment | Posted at 08:03pm via Condolence

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