Judy and Gary, married in May 1988, lived and worked in London. They were returning to the United States to visit relatives in Connecticut and Washington.
William Garretson (Gary) Atkinson III was a project executive for Olympia and York in London. He was a graduate of Washington University, Saint Louis, MO, where he was honored with a four-year Engineering Fellowship. Graduating with honors in civil engineering, he did his graduate work in construction management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, his father's alma mater. He worked in Boston for the Beacon Companies on such notable projects as the Meridien Hotel, One Post Office Square, and the Boston Harbor Hotel.
Described by his family as a "born leader," as a youth he was involved in scouting, student council, and school stage productions. He was voted by his classmates Most Likely to Succeed, Most Intellectual, and Contributed Most to Ledyard High School. He gave the valedictory address at his graduation. As an adult, he participated avidly in sailing, skiing, and cycling. Gary was interested in everything, and in his zest for life belonged to the Fine Arts Museum, attended Boston Symphony concerts, and traveled to Europe, Japan, and throughout the United States. He is quoted as saying, "The only thing that keeps a man going is energy, and what is energy but liking life?"
Judith (Judy) Bernstein Atkinson grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is described as being a gifted woman in every dimension. As a precocious child she read easily and memorized multiplication tables before entering kindergarten. She graduated high school as a Merit finalist, as well as a Bet Hamidrash graduate. Her desire to learn carried her far and wide. She attended the University of Michigan for two years. As a junior, she studied in Edinburgh, Scotland, and taught on the Isle of Skye. While there, she learned of an archeology course being taught at the Hyatt Institute in Jerusalem sponsored by Brandeis University. She spent her second semester there after which she transferred to Brandeis and graduated with honors the following year.
After graduation, she entered the Masters Program in Art History at the University of California in San Francisco. She followed that with a fellowship at Yale, She worked in New York as a curator for both the Whitney and the Jewish Museum. While Judy loved art, she didn't care for curating, so when she heard of a new school of business starting at Yale, she entered the Masters Program in Public and Private Management. She enjoyed the challenge and variety of business consulting and worked primarily in New York, Boston, and Washington. Most importantly, it afforded her the opportunity to focus on the real passions of her life, people and travel.
Judy avidly enjoyed a variety of interests and volunteered her time to special causes. She enjoyed cycling, hiking, and travel everywhere. And her love of life and people extended to the community in which she lived. In New York, she worked with the lunch program for the homeless at her synagogue.
Judy and Gary are described as soul mates: active, interested, involved, contributing members of the world's society.