Tribute: Billy and Michelle Atkins Together Again!


BillyBilly and Michelle Atkins.

Every year, I do a tribute to my dear friend, Billy Atkins who passed away unexpectedly on February 10th in 2012. Sadly, his loving wife and our close friend, Michelle (O’Brien) Atkins passed away on December 18th of 2017. At the time of Michelle’s death, I was at loss for words and froze-up my response. In retrospect, it’s fitting to honor both of my close friends together, which is how these two spent their greatest times in life and beyond!

Michelle is lovingly remembered by her daughter, Dawn (Rob) Kamen of Ormond Beach, FL; grandchildren, Ian & Ivy Kamen; mother, Mary O’Brien; sister, Debbie (O’Brien) Wagenhals; brothers, John (Kim) O’Brien, Peter O’Brien; nieces, Suzie O’Brien Banks, Sarah (Brian) Davis, and Chelsey O’Brien.

I never knew Michelle O’Brien until Billy started dating her upon returning from a brief relocation from San Diego, California to his hometown of Lexington, Ohio. Since we attended school together, John and Pete O’Brien were already close friends of mine.

Once Billy and Michelle got together it was clear they were in-separable. The way Billy looked at her and the smiles between these two love-birds was imminently noticeable.  They soon got married. The two kind-souls were inclusive, often sharing their time with family and friends.

I miss Michelle’s beautiful smile, her laugh and personality! The ice-tea she always offered anyone who visited their home, immediately welcomed you into their environment. A game of cards, attending concerts, races at Mid-Ohio, Indy and Michigan, fishing, or just going to Red Lobster (where they laughingly taught me how to crack a Crab Leg open for the first time); were all moments I wish I could remember more in-depth. The camaraderie and friendship was “special”. Once I became married, Michelle would invite my wife and I over to play cards or on a journey to the above listed activities.

Michelle was a hard worker and wasn’t shy about scolding anyone who did something stupid. Of course, her two younger brothers and I had some experience with that from time to time. You certainly hated to disappoint her, but her attitude was because she cared about you; never to be construed as malicious. Michelle always forgave and forgot quickly. She never held an ounce of ill-feeling if you were a friend!

They say, “Nobody Dies From A Broken Heart”. But the unexpected loss of Billy Atkins (at least to me), was something Michelle was unable to overcome. Her suffering has ended as she is re-united in Heaven with Billy, whose probably singing her a song with his guitar, right now; as they smile at each other!

Our sincere condolences to Michelle’s entire family and especially to her lovely daughter, Dawn Kamin! Our heart and prayers go out to all of you!

This song I chose to honor both Billy and Michelle was performed at a Journey/Breathless concert at the Richfield Coliseum; we attended together in the late 70’s. Breathless, a local Cleveland band featuring the sensational singer/songwriter/musician, Jonah Koslen (formerly of The Michael Stanley Band),  who blew us away on this tune he wrote.

Billy turned me onto the music of Jonah Koslen and The Michael Stanley Band back in the early 70’s. After seeing Jonah perform two weeks ago and his birthday yesterday; picking this tune is a given. I believe “Ends Of The Earth” perfectly describes Billy and Michelle Atkins relationship and how we feel about our two-departed friends.

Keep smilin’ down on me, love you both always!

Jonah Koslen’s Breathless Complete.


Products, advertisements and links on this website contain affiliate marketing agreements based on commision or sales between The Rust Belt Chronicles and third party companies or businesses. We only recommend products, brands and businesses that we strongly support. Photos used on this site are used courtesy of the original authors and in no way endorse The Rust Belt Chronicles or our opinions. Thank you.
Jim Carver About Jim Carver

Jim Carver is the President of The Rust Belt Chronicles.

In 2004, Jim graduated from North Central State College with a degree in Business Information Technology. Jim developed "Rock Lines" news report online in 2010.After a trial-run of The Rust Belt Chronicles in April of 2013, Jim decided to make his dream a reality in 2014 by re-launching The Rust Belt Chronicles.


  1. Thanks for the touching tribute to my cousin, Billy, and his dear wife, Michelle. We miss them both!

Speak Your Mind

Advertise With Us!

Advertise With Us!

[Read More...]