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John Anthony Atchan was born to the late Selina ‘Big Mama’ Key Atchan and Felix Atchan on March 8, 1953 in Texas.
John was raised in San Francisco, California. He accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior at a very young age, receiving Baptism and First Communion through the Catholic Church. In the city of San Francisco, John attended Sacred Heart Catholic School, Herbert Hoover Middle School and Polytechnic High School. His secondary education was obtained at City College of San Francisco and Midwestern State University (MSU) in Wichita Falls, Texas.
John ‘Flash’ Atchan had an illustrious basketball career as a Point Guard that stretched across both high school and college. He was coined ‘Flash’ because of his abilities to cleanly steal the basketball and his speed on the court. He was a team player, but most of all, he was a leader. His leadership skills led his varsity team to the play-offs and championship competitions each year. He was recognized as both the Most Valuable Player and All-Star Player during his entire high school tenure. At Polytechnic High School, Flash also used his skills and abilities to break records; receive recognition by The Chronicle and Examiner as an All-AAA Boys Basketball All-Star; and be named a San Francisco City & County Basketball Legend by Bay Area Sports Stars. During his senior year in high school, John hoped to be drafted to the National Basketball Association (NBA); however, he was not chosen. Instead he was offered a full scholarship to Midwestern State University. At MSU he also took on a leadership role, teaching his teammates basketball fundamentals and teamwork. He led his team in scoring and still holds scoring titles from his 1973-1975 seasons. John moved his family to Wichita Falls soon after his arrival. At the age of three years old, his eldest daughter became the University’s mascot! Dressed in a tiny cheerleader’s outfit, she cheered for ‘Flash’ during his college career. John reached his ultimate goal of playing professional basketball by signing a 10-day NBA contract with the Golden State Warriors.
John also had short professional careers at Safeway Stores and as an Airline Food Carrier.
John and Millicent Germaine Thomas were united in Holy Matrimony on September 30, 1971, to them one child was born; Janet Marie Atchan Follings (Surako Follings Sr.). John united with Sharon Davis in 1972, to them one child was born; Maurice Algiers Atchan (Laya Atchan). John was remarried to Beverly Marie Davis on August 20, 1978, to them four children were born; Joy Marie Atchan Huggins, Janee’ Marie Atchan Smith (Ponce Smith), John Anthony Atchan Jr. (Sara Jones) and Jennifer Marie Atchan Joyner (Gerard Joyner). From the marital union of John and Tracy Kirkendoll in February 1991, two children were born; Janetria Marie Moore and Jonathan Anthony Atchan.
John’s lineage continues through his eight children and fifteen grandchildren; Surako Follings Jr., Maya Follings, Isiah Atchan, William Huggins, Matthew Huggins, Aliyah Smith, Amaya Smith, Arianna Smith, Emerald Atchan, Alyssa Chirolo, Marcel Atchan, Selina Joyner, Mason Joyner, Ja’Riyah Moore and Jonathan Atchan Jr.
In recent years, John’s health began to deteriorate due to developing a non-operable brain tumor. He was placed in Valley Pointe Nursing & Rehabilitation Center after a prolonged admission at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center. John was loved by Valley Pointe staff members. He was nominated ‘Resident of the Month’ for his involvement in activities and tenor singing abilities and imitations of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes and David Ruffin of the Temptations. On March 22, 2019, while surrounded by his beloved nieces and nephews, John peacefully transitioned from this world.
John was proceeded in death by all eight of his siblings; Myrtle Murray, Wilson Atchan, Frankie Mae Atchan, Rosa Lee Johnson, Cecelia Woodrow, Selina Mae Nelson, Joseph Atchan and Janet Carraway.
John leaves behind a host of loving nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.