June Atkinson-Silvers, 81, formerly of Oak Park, died last month in Boise, Idaho, where she had lived for the past two years.

Margaret June Atkinson was born July 6, 1925, in Abbassia, Egypt, the oldest of five children. Her father was posted to R.A.F. Renfrew, Scotland, in 1926. During World War II, June served as a telephone operator in Crewkerne, Somerset, England. She came to Chicago as a war bride during the 1940s.

Mrs. Atkinson-Silvers taught Sunday School for the parish church of Crewkerne, Somerset, England, and at First Baptist Church of Oak Park. She was a Stephen Minister and deacon at the church. She was also president of the Daughters of the British Empire of Illinois for six years, president of the Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest, and served for 10 years as a docent at the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio in Oak Park.

June was well known for her warmth and friendliness, as well as her persistent British accent. She often portrayed pioneer wife Betty Kettlestrings, the English-born, first non-native woman who in the 1830s settled in what would become Oak Park. She frequently presented programs and historic monologues “in character” at various libraries and club meetings.

She and her husband Ed moved to Boise, Idaho, in June 2004. She joined the First Presbyterian Church of Boise and, typically, became busy with local history and culture. She enjoyed Opera Idaho and the Idaho Shakespeare Festival. She was a member and officer in the Crown Jewell Chapter of the Daughters of the British Empire of Idaho. She gave “living history” performances of Florence Nightingale for the graduation classes of Boise State University nursing students, as well as other historic, costumed characters for various organizations. June Atkinson-Silvers also served on the board of directors of the Friends of the Idaho History Museum.

She is survived by her husband, Ed Silvers; her daughters Ingrid (Bill) Brudenell and Linnea Wilkinson; her seven grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; her sisters Diana Williams of England, Margaret Morgan of Australia, and brother Barry Billing of Chicago.

She was preceded in death by her brother, mother and father, husbands Henry and Herbert, and a stepson.

A celebration of her life took place Oct. 21 in the First Presbyterian Church, Boise, Idaho.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Boise State University Foundation scholarships for nursing and reading education.

-Doug Deuchler

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