Surrey force for finance dead at 79

City's former longtime chief financial officer Dennis Atkinson passed away March 5

Dennis Atkinson

A much-respected former longtime finance manager with the City of Surrey has died.

Dennis Atkinson served with the municipality for 32 years, first as an accountant, then eventually as the chief financial officer in charge of  Surrey’s books.

He retired in 1996.

Those at city hall who knew him well describe Atkinson as a unwavering force for finance. If he didn’t agree with a financial approach by councillors, he wasn’t afraid to stand up and make that known.

“If he thought council was heading off in the wrong direction, he would tell them in the most professional terms,” said former Surrey Mayor Bob Bose, who worked with Atkinson for years.

“Surrey was in an excellent financial position as a result of his tough approach to finances,” Bose said.

Atkinson worked with city manager Dan Closkey and together they were an unstoppable force, Bose said.

Former longtime Coun. Judy Higginbotham worked with Atkinson for 13 years, and said he was an amazing man and an incredible financial officer.

“He lived and breathed his job, and he was very responsible,” Higginbotham said.

He arrived in a time of fiscal turmoil, she said, adding he was able to right the budgetary ship.

“We built the Newton Wave Pool, which was a big deal in those days,” Higginbotham said.

In fact, the books were so good when he left, the following city council was able to embark on a decade-long freeze on property taxes.

Atkinson is described by family members as a kind, generous, social person who enjoyed watching his grandchildren at various sporting events.

“He was fully involved in the lives of his grandchildren, driving them to school, picking them up,” Bose said. “His family was absolutely everything to him.”

Atkinson died peacefully on March 5 at Surrey Memorial Hospital. He was 79.

He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Verna, four children (Lyle, Eric, Susan and Melanie), nine grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, seven brothers, two sisters and a large extended family.

A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, April 2 at 2 p.m. at the King’s Community Centre, 21783 76B Ave., Langley.

 

Just Posted

More ‘Messiah’ in Surrey: City’s new orchestra twice performs Handel’s classic

First Fleetwood Christian Reformed Church, then the Bell theatre with Vancouver Bach Choir

Surrey, Santa Claus is coming to town with lighted trucks

Special events in Cloverdale and Surrey Civic Plaza on Dec. 2

A ‘Peter Pan’-to opens in Surrey this week, and tickets are being snapped up

Show at Surrey Arts Centre is produced by FVGSS, A Musical Theatre Company

Threatened frog re-discovered in Delta Nature Reserve

The Burns Bog Conservation Society is asking residents to report sightings of the red-legged frog

White Rock pier light show

Dancing lights highlighted off the water front

Shots fired near Chicago hospital, multiple victims: police

Police say at least one possible offender has been shot

B.C. to allow ride hailing services to operate in 2019

Fee will be applied to fund options for disabled people

Burnaby woman’s car crash death now considered a homicide

Nicole Hasselmann, 34, was killed and a man was sent to hospital after the crash

Chocolate lab missing along Coquihalla

Brad Gibson is asking for help locating his missing dog.

B.C. connection to launch of new $10 bill

Great nephew of Viola Desmond says bill is a ‘step in the right direction’

Elections BC keeps eye on Canada Post dispute, but no change in Nov. 30 deadline

Vote No spokesman say an extension of one or two weeks would ensure all ballots are counted

Langley school pulls Japanese ‘rising sun’ flag after student petition

School district promises consultation with students and parents, defends using flag for war history

Most Read