Athanas, Verne

Verne Athanas moved to Ashland with his family and graduated from Ashland High School in 1936. He married his classmate Alice Spencer in '36 and they had two sons, Michael and David. One granddaughter was also born prior to Verne's death in 1962.

Mr. Athanas became a successful freelance writer who produced short stories that were published in the Saturday Evening Post, Colliers, Country Gentleman, Argosy and other magazines. He also wrote three novels, Maverick, Rogue Valley ande The Proud Ones. The latter was made into a movie and may also have been the basis of the television show Gunsmoke.

Prior to earning his living as an author, Verne was a logger, a farmer and a sales person. He once worked at The Mart in Ashland. Mr. Athanas was a member of the Ashland Junior Gun Club, Ashland Toastmasters Club, and Western Writers of America. He died of a heart attack while serving as the master of ceremonies for the Western Writers annual conference. His hobbies included wood carving, sketching, photography, hunting and fishing. SOURCES: SOHS Vertical file; W. Verne Athanas, Writer, by Richard E. Moore (SOHS Library, 813.54 A862)

Mr. Athanas’ papers are now in the University of Oregon Special Collections and Archives. According to Bruce Tabb, Associate Professor, Special Collections Librarian University of Oregon Libraries, the materials include personal and professional correspondence, source and idea notes, miscellaneous papers, teleplays, manuscripts, and Western Writers of America correspondence and documents.

Genealogy: William Verne (WV) Athanas was the son of Panagiotis "Peter" Konstantinos Athanassopoulos and Minnie Maude Colson. Panagiotis "Peter" Konstantinos Athanassopoulos (son of Konstantinos Athanassopoulos and Vasiliki Mangafas) was born on 04 Jun 1890 in Sirtzy Trifillias, Greece. He died on 15 May 1942 in Klamath, Klamath, Oregon. He married Minnie Maude Colson (daughter of Robert Loomis Colson and Nettie Marshall) about 1915. Minnie Maude Colson was born on 30 Dec 1894 in Ada, Idaho. She died on 24 Jun 1977. Minnie Maude Colson and Panagiotis "Peter" Konstantinos Athanassopoulos had the following children: .    i. William Verne Athanas was born on 13 Aug 1917 in Cleft, Elmore co., Idaho. He died on 21 Jun 1962 in Gilliam, Oregon, United States. He married Alice Spencer. Velma June Athanas was born on 21 Jan 1918 in Bliss, Gooding co., Idaho. She died on 28 Dec 2000 in Florence, Florence, South Carolina.  iii. Alvin Cecil Athanas was born on 31 Aug 1921 in Boise, Ada, Idaho. He died on 10 Jul 1997 in Medford, Jackson County, Oregon. He married Joyce Elaine Latour on 19 May 1989 in Reno, Washoe, Nevada. She was born on 12 Dec 1929. She died on 12 Jan 2012. He married Mary Anna Wilkens after 1940. She was born on 16 Jun 1921 in Lakeside, Coos co., Oregon. She died on 22 Sep 1991 in Las Vegas, Clark Co., Nevada. Jack Leland Athanas was born on 06 Aug 1924 in LaGrande, Union co., Oregon. He died on 06 Jan 1974 in The Dalles, Wasco, Oregon. Dorothy Aileen Athanas was born on 21 Jun 1930 in Klamath Falls, Klamath, Oregon. She died on 12 Jan 2002 in Medford, Jackson County, Oregon.

Other Name(s): 

Bill Colson

City: 

Ashland

Birthplace: 

Cleft, Idaho

Place of death: 

Boise, Idaho

Mother: 

Colson, Maude

Father: 

Athanas, Peter K.

Spouse: 

Spencer, Alice

Children: 

Athanas, Michael and Athanas, David

Occupation: 

Author