Elmer F. Atkinson
Born on July 4, 1924, Bud has resided in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania all his life. Many people in his family were members of the Son of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) and Auxiliary of the SUVCW, and he was exposed to the activities of the Orders from an early age. He derives his eligibility for membership in the SUVCW from his great grandfather, Private Balthasar Moeckel, Company G, 75th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, and great grandfather Private William Brown, U.S. Marine Corps.
Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Bud enlisted in the Army, serving for four years in an armored unit in the European theatre and then remaining in the Active Army Reserves for 20 more years before retiring with the rank of Sergeant Major.
In 1938, he had joined the Anna M. Ross Camp #1, SUVCW in Philadelphia and upon his return from World War II was elected Camp Commander in 1946. In the early 1950's Ross Camp disbanded and the members transferred to Camp #200 in Philadelphia. Desiring to reactivate Anna M. Ross Camp #1, Bud reorganized it in 1978 with 15 members, serving first as its Treasurer and then Secretary/Treasurer until 1992. As of December 31, 1998, the Camp had grown to include 207 members.
He served in many offices in the Department of Pennsylvania, SUVCW including, Patriotic Instructor, Junior and Senior Vice Commander, followed by two terms as Department Commander in 1985-1986. Becoming active in the National Organization, SUVCW, he served as National Patriotic Instructor, National Quartermaster, National Council, Junior and Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief and was elected Commander-in-Chief at the 111th National Encampment held August 14-16, 1992, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He officiated at the National Encampment held in Portland, Maine in 1993. He has continued since that time to fulfill his duties as National Quartermaster.
In the early 1980's Bud founded the 28th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, Sons of Veterans Reserve (SVR), first serving as Company Commander and then rising in rank to Colonel commanding the 2nd Military District of the SVR. He retired from this post in 1997 and began service as Inspector General of the SVR.
Employed as a professional firefighter by the city of Philadelphia, Bud retired after 24 years to become the Manager of an air conditioning company. He subsequently went on to work as the Assistant Building Supervisor for a large insurance company. His final retirement was in 1986, after which he devoted his time to volunteer work in hereditary and historical groups.
Asked to assume the presidency of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Civil War Museum and Library in Philadelphia in 1982, he solicited donations and volunteers, setting in motion a plan to refurbish the building and organize the priceless collection which originated with Post #2 of the GAR. Under his guidance, the Board was eventually able to open the museum to the public for tours and lectures. He is an active participant in the museum's outreach programs to schools and community groups.
He served for ten years on the Board of Directors of the Frankford Historical Society in Philadelphia; is a Life Member of the SUVCW; Life member of the Disabled American Veterans; Life member of the National Rifle Association; and a member of the American Legion. He has also been active as a Boy Scout Merit Badge Counselor and Hunter Safety Instructor for the state of Pennsylvania.
He married Margaret Poehler in 1949 and has two sons and a daughter who are members of the SUVCW and Auxiliary to the SUVCW, as are three of ten grandchildren. In addition, he has two great grandchildren. His wife served as National President of the Auxiliary from 1994 to 1996. His aunt, Caroline Riddell, was National President of the Auxiliary and his uncle, Clarence Riddell, was Commander-in-Chief of the SUVCW, serving together in 1976.