Nola Nelson Atkins

Nola Nelson Atkins, formerly of Newport News, Hampton, and Yorktown, departed this life on January 5, 2024.  Affectionately known as “Goga,” she had been a Peninsula resident since 1971.  She was employed by Newport News Shipbuilding for many years as a production controller.  She also held a certification from cosmetology school, of which she was particularly proud.  She had most recently been enjoying retirement, however.  She was an active member of Hilton Presbyterian Church for more than fifty years. 

Nola was a native of Monongahela, Pennsylvania, and spent her childhood on her father’s dairy, known as Med-O-Farm.  The fourth of five children, many lessons learned and vignettes which occurred on the farm followed her throughout life.  She graduated from Charleroi High School in 1954 and kept in touch with several of her classmates throughout her life.    

She married Richard Dale Atkins and raised two wonderful daughters in several international locations.  Nola later became a strong advocate for changing the laws regarding how military spouses were compensated upon divorce from service members.

Nola held a passion for cats and owned several feline companions throughout her life.  Dancing was also one of her favorite activities.  She organized many dances through her involvement with the Singles Society over the years—an organization of which she was the president.  It would be an understatement, however, to say that her five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren were the loves of her life.   

Nola was preceded in death by her parents, Raymond and Alice Nelson; a daughter, Anita Atkins Perry Sanborn; sisters, Anita Banks and Ina Hennessy; and a brother, Bryce Nelson.  She is survived by a sister, Donna Sichi, of Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania; daughter and son-in-law, Lora and Jackie Brown of Gloucester; granddaughter Madison Brown, Jessica Doherty, Kate Crane, Kristina Perry, and grandson Josh Perry.  Additionally, she leaves behind four great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews

Visitation will be held Wednesday, January 10, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Peninsula Funeral Home.  A funeral at Hilton Presbyterian Church is scheduled for Thursday, January 11 at 11:00 a.m.  Interment is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on Friday, January 12 at Groves Memorial Presbyterian Church in Hayes.  


  1. Amanda Whitmore

    May Creator cradle you in loving arms until you meet your family and loved ones again. I pray for your smooth transition from this plain of existence to the next. God guide you home and comfort those who love you still.

  2. Alan Bagley

    Lora & family, I was saddened to hear of Nola’s passing. I worked with her in the Shipyard for a few years. She was always so kind and had a great disposition. Many years have passed by since then but I will always have wonderful memories of her.

  3. Jenny Sharp-Warthan

    Lora, I was so sorry to see the passing of your Mom. She was such a great lady! and loved her family so very much. May you hold many good memories close to you! Jenny Sharp

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