W. Willene Looney Atkins
W. Willene Looney Atkins August 13, 1938 – August 21, 2019
Wilma Willene Looney Atkins passed away peacefully surrounded by the love of her family at the age of 81. Willene was a wife, sister, mother, grandmother, and a Texan. She was a beautiful woman that lived a life filled with adventure and love and pursuing an amazing talent in art.
Willene was born in Brownfield, Texas. She was the third daughter to Olga Bernice Nelson and Walter Gordon Looney who traveled throughout Texas supporting the installation of oil wells. Later Willene, her mother and father, and twin sisters Reba Del and Weda Nel settled in Beaumont, Texas where Gordon Looney went to work for Mobil Oil. Jeannie Olene soon joined the family as the fourth daughter.
Willene grew up in a family with artistic talent. At a young age, Willene was fascinated by her Mother’s ability to draw anything requested. Her older twin sisters were talented artists, even painting ladies on cars during the 1940s, and her father worked with his hands and brains inventing and mechanically innovating equipment used in oil production.
Willene’s talent as an artist grew in high school, where two of her paintings were selected to hang in the principal’s office and library and she received the Art Achievement Award upon graduating from South Park High School in Beaumont, TX in 1957. She went on to attend Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, studying Commercial Art. After leaving college, work for a woman as a commercial artist was difficult and she became a flight attendant for Trans Texas Airline.
In 1962, she married Donald Ray Moseley and her art was put on hold while she created a home, raised her daughters, Jessica, Selene, and Michele (Chele), and traveled the world with Don’s job building mining operations. In the first eleven years of their marriage, they moved twenty-three times living in Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Greece, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, and California. In 1972, they moved to New Mexico where they lived for the next twenty-two years. Willene loved every minutes of it and developed many life-long friends along the way.
While her daughters grew up, she attended the University of New Mexico where she completed her degree in Commercial Art, worked as a commercial artist, was a realtor, served as a lobbyist in the New Mexico State Legislature, and continued to travel to the many places she had always dreamed of seeing.
Willene married John T Atkins in 1997 and they lived a beautiful life together. As a fellow artist, she and John lived and painted in Horseshoe Bay, Texas, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Genoa, Nevada and traveled the world revisiting some of Willene’s favorites and adding many other destinations including the Isle of Mann where Willene found her ancestral Looney home. Many of Willene’s paintings reflect the faces and lives of the people she observed in her travels.
Willene was a truly amazing and talented woman. She was gracious and hospitable and could host a dinner for twenty without batting an eye. Willene was a devoted friend; teaching and encouraging many to paint. She enjoyed sharing her love of art and adventure with her grandchildren, Cyrus and Amaya and her many grand nieces and nephews. She was compassionate and kind-hearted, embracing the best in all she met. Willene leaves an enduring legacy in her three girls endowing them her independence, grace, and a love of adventure.
Willene is survived by her sister Jeannie Olene Looney; daughters Jessica Lee Moseley and husband Frederick Richard Sanchez, Olga Selene and husband Benjamin Martinez, and Michele Moseley Looney; grandchildren Cyrus Moseley Martin and Amaya Moseley Martin. On March 15, 2019, Willene was preceded in death by her husband John T Atkins.
A Memorial will be held on Saturday, October 12, 2019 in Genoa, NV at Genoa Community Church, 11 am, followed by placement of Willene and John’s ashes at Genoa Cemetery. For additional information, contact Chele at 775-781-7834.