Jeanne L. Atherton, 94 of Walnut, died Wednesday, February 1, 2023 at Heritage Health of Walnut.
Jeanne was born on January 4, 1929 in Princeton, the daughter of Leonard and Helen (Gonigam) Andersen. She married Roy A. Atherton on February 6, 1949 in Walnut. He preceded her in death on October 18, 2015. Together, Roy and Jeanne owned and operated Atherton Grain Company. Jeanne’s love for Arabian horses stemmed from a beautiful blaze faced, chestnut, Arabian gelding named, Dealers Choice, who was purchased for her by her husband. Riding was a way of life. She owned over 125 Arabians and Half Arabian horses and enjoyed showing and sharing her proud possessions. Costume, Western Pleasure, Saddleseat, and Side Saddle were all fair game for this noble horsewoman. She started her breeding program in 1969, with the support of her husband. She was a prolific breeder and owner of National Champion Arabian Horses. Jeanne bred over 90 horses in her endeavors in the horse industry and maybe more notably fostered the love of horses to many people in the area and in the Arabian industry. She was an active member of the Illinois Arabian Horse Association for over 40 years. She mentored several girls in the Arabian horse industry, and many today still share the passion and fire that she ignited in them.
Survivors include, her son, Bruce Atherton of Walnut; her daughter, Shari (Joe) Sterrenberg of Chatsworth; four grandchildren, Ryan, Jaime, Lucus, and Casey; nine great grandchildren; and one great granddaughter.
She was preceded in death by her husband; parents; daughter-in-law, Patti Atherton; and her brother, Leonard Neal Andersen.
A private graveside service will be held at the Walnut Cemetery in Walnut. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in her memory to the donor’s choice.
Special thanks to Heritage Health in Walnut and to Sarah for the care she showed Jeanne the past few years.
To send flowers
to the family or plant a tree
in memory of Jeanne L. (Andersen) Atherton, please visit our floral store.