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Developer Clint Atkins Dies At Age 65

A longtime business partner of Clint Atkins says the Champaign developer was always objective about his business assets--but he maintained a lifelong devotion to Champaign-Urbana.

The 65-year-old Atkins died early Sunday morning in Lexington, Ky., after suffering a heart attack.

Peter Fox worked with Atkins to develop the University of Illinois Business Research Park and the I-Hotel. He says Atkins' contributions to Champaign-Urbana includes the his early investment and nurturing of Hobbico, the maker and distributor of hobby products, and FlightStar, the fixed-base operator at Willard Airport.

In the case of FlightStar, Fox draws a link between Atkins and Willard Airport's long-running relationship with American Airlines.

"And because of their (FlightStar's) expertise in maintenance, they convinced American airlines to bring most of their regional jets through Champaign for service and maintenance," Fox said. "So it convinced American that--flying to and from Dallas, and then obviously to and from O'Hare--that Champaign was a great place for the planes to spend the night because they were serviced and maintained by FlightStar."

Fox also notes Atkins' contributions to University of Illinois Athletics. He says the golf course attached to Atkins' Stone Creek subdivision in Urbana helped bring the university's golf teams to new levels of excellence.

"People would look at Stone Creek and think, 'Oh it's a golf course or a housing development,'" Fox said. "But I think Clint looked at it also as a way to help the university grow and nurture men's and women's golf, which then enabled the university to attract Mike Small, the PGA Professional of the Year ... and now we've got an NCAA championship in golf."

Illini golfer Scott Langley was last year's NCAA men's golf individual champion in Division One. Fox says Atkins gift for the Atkins Tennis Center helped the Illini tennis teams in a similar fashion.

Clint Atkins is survived by his wife Susie, and three grown children--Todd, Spencer and Suzette. Todd and Spencer Atkins are now directors at The Atkins Group, the development firm that their father founded. A spokesman for

The Atkins Groups says a public visitation for Atkins will be held Wednesday from 3 to 7 pm at Faith United Methodist Church, 1719 S. Prospect in Champaign. A private funeral is planned. Morgan Memorial Home in Savoy is handling funeral arrangements.

Categories: Biography, Business