George Edwin Watkins
George Edwin Watkins of Denton, Texas, went home to live with the Lord on Good Friday, March 29, 2013, days after celebrating his 79th birthday with his family. He fought a very long, difficult battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Mr. Watkins was born to JB Watkins and Zena Cue Veal on March 19, 1934 in Denton, Texas. He was raised from the age of 6 months by his paternal grandparents, George Clint and Samantha Elliot Watkins, whom he loved dearly. He is survived by his wife of nearly 60 years, Loreta Annette Martin Watkins; one daughter, Michelle Annette; his son-in-law, John Edward Lubrano; and 3 cherished grandchildren: George Martin, Eliza Jean and Virginia Anne, all of Cedar Park, Texas.
Mr. Watkins attended North Texas State University Demonstration School until 1950, when the school closed down and all the students were transferred to Denton High School. In his senior year, George was given the honor of attending Texas Boy’s State in Austin. He served in leadership roles in his school in those early years. This desire to serve others was planted early and continued to guide his way throughout his lifetime. Mr. Watkins attended North Texas State University before leaving to go to work for the City of Denton. It was there that he met his lovely bride, Annette Martin, who also worked for and retired from the City of Denton. George and Annette were married in Denton on August 19, 1953 with their cherished family, Donald and Joan Sikes Dooley as their witnesses.
George served as a specialist SPC in the 1 Armored Division in the US Army and as a Sergeant in the Air Force Reserves. Mr. Watkins received an honorable discharge from both military branches. Mr. Watkins continued to lead and serve others in his community in many ways. He was an active member of the Lions Club International since 1961, holding the offices of president, treasurer and secretary numerous times. He also served as the District Chairman for Lions International twice. Asked what he enjoyed most about his time serving, George simply said, "I always loved helping those less fortunate."
Mr. Watkins was also an active volunteer for the Red Cross in Denton County for many years. He served as County Chairman and ran many amateur radio operations connecting victims with their concerned relatives before cell phones were widely available. George and many others spent a considerable amount of time gathering storm information in and around Denton County, in an effort to assist the Civil Defense Agency and the National Weather Service in Ft. Worth. Many evenings were spent "storm chasing" in order to help those authorities protect others. Because of his status as a licensed radio operator, George was a part of a valuable team who served our community for many years.
After working for and retiring from the University of North Texas, George shifted his focus on service to the needs of the City of Denton Planning and Zoning Committee. He served for 7 years as a commissioner and chairman, overseeing many of the projects that have helped Denton grow and thrive. As a life-long resident of Denton, George’s love for the city always guided his decisions and his leadership as chairman.
Apart from his tireless volunteer work, George enjoyed spending time with his family and the families of his fellow amateur radio operators. His family recalled many Friday nights spent hiding during their antenna hunts (a hide and seek game popular in the 1970’s with radio operators) and numerous trips where the North Texas High Frequency Association setup operations in such places as the Battleship Texas at San Jacinto; Telephone, Texas; and Moscow, Texas. "It was a great way to grow up," recalled his daughter, "people would find it hokey now, but we all had so much fun just doing the simplest things." Mr. Watkins was also an avid family camper, fisherman and hunter. Many, many weekends were spent with family and friends hanging their toes over a fishing boat at Lake Texoma.
George was a man who had a deep love for God, his country and his family and friends. He was a member of Pearl and Bolivar Church of Christ for many years. George’s desire was to serve anyone in need at anytime. His love for others knew no boundaries.
In the last year of his life, George and Annette had moved to Austin to be closer to their daughter and her family. He helped his grandson, George Martin to reach his Life Rank in Boy Scouts and encouraged him to continue to strive for Eagle Scout. George also poured love into his granddaughters, often just sitting with them and holding their hand. Mr. Watkins was a firm believer in honoring the values of honesty, hard work, loyalty, duty to others and faith in God. His family is honored to carry on his legacy and to celebrate such a humble, yet impactful man. Despite his affliction, anytime someone asked how George was doing, he would always reply, "Never had a bad day." That statement has no greater meaning than today as we say good-bye to his life here on earth, but praise Jesus for George’s life eternally.
Visitation will be held on Monday, April 1, 2013 from 6-8 pm at Bill DeBerry Funeral Directors. Funeral Services will be held on Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at 11:00 am at Bill DeBerry Funeral Directors, 2025 West University Drive. Burial will follow at Roselawn Cemetery.