ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- A prominent metro-area doctor, who was shot to death in Centennial, was buried Monday.
Ken Atkinson was allegedly shot by a neighbor on April 4 while trying to help the neighbor's wife after a shooting.
Hundreds of people, holding tightly to each other and to the program honoring Atkinson's life, filled Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church for his memorial.
Mourners paid respects at the funeral for the man they called “Doc.”
“I believe God can make things good. The bad is Doc has left us. The good is how he touched our lives,” said friend and Atkinson’s office manager, Mary DeLapp.
"Our dad was 'Doc' and a friend to many but to us he was our dad first,” said Atkinson’s daughter Allison Adams, with Whitney Langlois standing at the podium together.
Atkinson, they said, was a father by choice but a protector by nature.
“He was caring, he was giving, he was selfless,” friend Gregg Bettis said.
Selfless also, in his final act on Earth.
"Shot and killed by a neighbor while trying to help others who had been shot,” friend Brad Meuli said.
Many said it’s obvious Atkinson died a hero.
“Jane, you've relayed how proud you are that Ken would actually lay down his life coming to the aid of your neighbors. His courage, his genuine caring and love. I can’t tell you how proud we are,” Pastor Brad Strait said.
But to Atkinson’s daughters, the word hero, they said, described their dad from Day 1.
“We know he would want to be here for us to take care of us, to take care of mom. He was taken too soon. To us he was our dad and he's always been our hero,” said Adams as she and Langlois addressed the crowd.
That same sentiment was relayed by each of the more than 12 speakers who spoke about Atkinson.
“I was so proud to tell people I was your brother. More than an incredible person, many people know you died a hero. They have no idea that you lived as a hero, and you were always my hero,” said Atkinson’s younger brother, Tom.
A devout Christian, those who knew Atkinson best said they are comforted in knowing that he is finally home.
“He recently said to Allison, life is a journey. We never arrive, I haven't arrived. We can say now he's arrived to his heavily father. He finished strong. We love you dad and grandpa,” Adams said.
Contributions in memory of Atkinson are being made to the Kendall and Taylor Atkinson Foundation. It was established in 2006 by Atkinson and his wife Jeanne after the deaths of their youngest two children, Kendall and Taylor, from Fanconi anemia.
The foundation supports medical research and projects that benefit children with special needs. For donation information, visit the organization's website or send it to:
Kendall and Taylor Atkinson Foundation
P.O. Box 3514
Littleton, CO 80161