'Practical World' True News Magazine by American Road Radio

'Practical World' True News Magazine by American Road Radio
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#TopStory : Final destination for World War II veteran James Atherton, 92

James Atherton, a World War II veteran who served in the Army Signal Corps in the South Pacific, died Dec. 9, two days after he was accidentally run over by a neighbor backing out of a driveway in Cooper City. He was 92. 

After his time in the Army, Atherton became an active member in local veterans' organizations. He served for several years as a chaplain for local American Legion posts, often helping conduct funerals in South Florida, his family said.

"He was very proud of his service," said his niece, Susan Anderson, of Wilton Manors. "He could tell fantastic war stories. He was very, very entertaining."

Atherton was recently featured in a Sun Sentinel story for Memorial Day, which marked his 92nd birthday. He reflected on being one of the few remaining World War II veterans. 

"Everybody's gone that you used to know, all my friends are gone," Atherton said in May. "They are all dead. I don't like that feeling, being the last one. But you don't want to die."

Atherton's family is still reeling from the sudden loss.

"It's really so tragic that this had to happen," Anderson said. "It doesn't seem right at all."

Atherton was out on his daily afternoon walk Dec. 7 when he was struck by a neighbor backing out of a driveway in the 10200 block of Southwest 49th Street. Authorities said the crash appeared to have been accidental.

A retired glazier, Atherton lost his wife, Libby, eight years ago and had been living alone in the family home in Cooper City. He had lost his vision in one eye, but was still very active and took care of himself, his family said.

Atherton would take daily walks and often pick up a book from the library, his son said.

Atherton's two children would visit him regularly and help him with groceries and chores.

"I wanted to come more, but he didn't want to bother me," said his daughter, Dianne McCabe, of West Palm Beach. "He was very independent and he loved his neighborhood."

In the last couple of years, Atherton and his daughter were flown to Washington, D.C., through the Honor Flight program.

"They flew you there for the day and you got to tour everything," McCabe said. "There was a bus and a police escort so you wouldn't get stuck in traffic."

Atherton is also survived by his son, James Atherton Jr. of Tampa; five grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and other extended family.

The family is planning a military funeral after the holidays.
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