Loren “J.R.” Atwell
March 31, 1936 - June 1, 2012
Loren "J.R." Atwell, age 76, of Olean, left this world on Friday, June 1, 2012, at his home following a short battle with pancreatic cancer. He was born March 31, 1936, to the late Archie Loren and Electa Ann (Thompson) Atwell near Iberia and resided in the mid-Missouri area throughout his life. J.R. endured numerous hardships during his childhood, including losing his father at the young age of 10 and then two devastating house fires that wiped out the family's belongings. Believing that hard work and perseverance would pay off, J.R. ventured out to pursue various businesses. With his determination to succeed and willingness to do whatever it takes, he. (along with his business partners), eventually built a thriving poultry distribution in the late 1960's. A new franchise business was expanding into small town USA and J.R. and his brother, Bill, borrowed money from a doctor in St. Louis to open their first Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in St. Robert in 1969. The St. Robert unit was the first of eight they eventually opened in the mid-Missouri towns of Eldon, Lake Ozark, Camdenton, Lebanon, Rolla, Salem and Marshall. J.R. had a passion for the restaurant business and throughout the years was involved in numerous family restaurants as well as franchises that included Pizza Inn, Long John Silvers and A&W. Never wanting to slow down, J.R. maintained an active lifestyle following retirement in his early 70's. He was always available to answer questions and offer advice to any and all who reached out for his expertise. He was meticulous about maintaining his property and spent countless hours mowing grass and manicuring lawns. J.R. was strong in stature and character. He was a cornerstone in his church, community and family. No words can express the loss felt by family and friends at his passing. We are comforted knowing we were blessed to have him in our lives and look forward to the day we meet him in heaven. Surviving at the home is his wife of nearly 55 years, Nina June (Burks) Atwell. Other survivors include: two daughters, Lorna June Mundwiller of Rolla and Jo Ruth "Jody" Cotten and husband Junior of Centertown; one son, Robert Loren Atwell and wife Christina of Jefferson City. He was the ever-entertaining, fun-loving "Papa" to 10 grandchildren, Khalid, Jacinta and Gloria Mundwiller, Christopher, Tony and Jeffrey McCarty and Bryan, Halla, Brandon and Madison Atwell; one great-grandson, Landor Mundwiller. J.R. was preceded in death by five brothers and five sisters. Services will be at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, June 6, at the First Assembly of God Church in Eldon. Rev. James Hedrick and Rev. Archie Atwell will officiate. Interment will be in Greenmore Memorial Gardens near Barnett. Visitation will be from 4-8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 5, at Rekus Funeral Home in Eldon. Memorial contributions may be made to Hephzibah Holiness Camp, P.O. Box 860, Dixon, MO 65459. All funds will be forwarded to J.R.'s nephew, Rev. Archie Atwell, for the continuation of his evangelical ministry across the country. Condolences may be shared with the family at www.rekusfh.com.
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