Billie Joy Atkins, 58, of Wareham, died Thursday, June 25, 2020 at Boston Medical Center after a brief illness.
Born in Cambridge, he was the son of the late Billy Joy and Elizabeth (Anderson) Atkins. Billie received a scholarship to attend Dean Junior College he received an associate’s degree in computer operations from Computer Learning Center in Somerville. He was an accomplished musician and drummer for 50 years. He spent 30 years as a touring drummer playing with musicians such as Wilson Pickett and Rufus Thomas. He was best known as the drummer for The GroovaLottos, a Grammy nominated soul and funk band. He also played with West Side Soul, Billy Atkins Diet, and Big Bad Wolf Blues.
In 2019, he received the NAACP Unsung Heroes Award for his dedication to arts and youth in the community. He was president of the Song Keepers, Ltd., a community based non-profit organization that focuses on the educational and cultural experiences of the community and economic development opportunities for musical and media artists. Billie was also an accomplished finish carpenter and boat mechanic. He loved to laugh and tell jokes.
He is survived by his children, Dion Joy Simons, Billy Joy Atkins, III and Jasmine Alexis Simons all of Buzzards Bay; his long-time companion Kathy Simons of Buzzards Bay; his brother, Ira Atkins of Buzzards Bay; his sisters, Geraldine Oliver, Brenda Oliver and Senethra Powell all of Valdosta, GA; and many nieces and nephews.
Relatives and friends are invited to visit at the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, 2599 Cranberry Highway (Rt. 28), Wareham on Tuesday, July 7, 2020 from 5 – 7 PM. Burial will be private. Due to COVID-19 occupancy restrictions, guests may experience long wait times to enter the funeral home.