Sylvia Cehand Ator, age 78, of Valdosta, died on Monday, April 17, 2017 at her residence. Mrs. Ator was born in Holland, TX to the late William Arthur Cehand & Fredericka Joanna Louise Petzolt Cehand. She graduated from Rotan High School in Rotan, TX. While in high school, she was a cheerleader and the captain of the girls' varsity basketball team. After high school, she attended and graduated from Hillcrest School of Nursing in Waco, which was part of Baylor University. She met and then on April 14, 1962 married Robert Avon Ator, who was starting a career in the U.S. Air Force. They were married for almost 55 years, until his death on March 9, 2017, just over a month ago. During their 26-year Air Force career, the Ators moved 19 times. She was a loving mother and led her family through each move with energy and grace, never losing her sense of humor or sense of adventure. They lived and traveled all over the United States, England, Italy and Germany, before his retirement in 1986, when they moved back to Valdosta, GA. Once back in Valdosta, she worked as a nurse for Dr. Durani and then for ten years, for Dr. Alvarado, completing her time there as Office Manager. Mrs. Ator was also very active in the community, serving as a Red Cross volunteer and an Art Center Ambassador. She also continued to volunteer at the Moody Air Force Base Family Activities Support Center, as she had at Langley AFB. There were many other social groups she also enjoyed, such as PEO. Traveling continued to be a favorite pastime of the Ator's during their retirement. She was a member of Park Avenue United Methodist Church.
Mrs. Ator is survived by her three children, a daughter and son-in-law, Stacey and David Klinkicht of Goldsboro, NC; a son and daughter-in-law, Robert Avon Ator II and Michelle of Little Rock, AR; a son and daughter-in-law, William H. and Susanne Ator of Sumter, SC. Also surviving are 7 grandchildren: Jessica Klinkicht of Oklahoma City, OK, Ryan Klinkicht of Goldsboro, NC, Taylor Ator of Sumter, SC, Robert T. Ator of Sumter, SC, Robert A. Ator, III, Colorado Springs, CO, Katie Ator, Sumter, SC, and Lauren Ator of Little Rock, AR; and several nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her husband, Robert Avon Ator, Col. USAF (Ret.) and a sister, Janice Dunn.
The Memorial Service for Mrs. Ator will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at Park Avenue United Methodist Church. Rev. Hale Bishop and Rev. Craig Rikard will officiate. The Ators will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery at a later time. The family will receive friends at Park Place by McLane (108 W. Park Ave.) on Monday evening from 5:30 until 7:30 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Cancer Coalition of South Georgia, 3338-L1 Country Club Road, PMV318, Valdosta, GA 31605. Condolences may be conveyed to the family on the obituary page of www.mclanecares.com. Carson McLane Funeral Home