2017-02-23 / Obituaries

John Watkins


John Watkins John Watkins John W. Watkins, 87, a longtime Prospect, Ohio, businessman, educator, and former Marion County commissioner, died unexpectedly Wednesday morning, February 15, 2017, in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. He had a family vacation home at Hessel.

He was born June 25, 1929, to John and Lucille (nee Benzler) Watkins in Radnor, Ohio.

He married Jacquelyn Osborn July 26, 1953, in Radnor.

Mr. Watkins was graduated from Radnor High School in 1947. He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1951, and also a master’s degree in 1959, in agricultural education from Ohio State University.

He spent 16 years teaching at Waldo, Ohio, Prospect, and Elgin, Ohio, schools. In 1967 he became a vocational agricultural supervisor with the state Department of Education, serving schools in northwest Ohio. He retired in 1984. He served as Marion County Commissioner from 1984 to 2000.

Mr. Watkins was a civic-minded person, as evidenced by his many active memberships. He was a lifetime member of the American Vocational Association, Ohio Educational Association, Honorary American Farmer Degree, and a 65-year Mason member of Hiram Lodge 18 F&AM in Delaware. He was a member of Aladdin Shrine, NRA, NEA, Prospect and Delaware Senior Citizens, Ohio Farm Bureau, and Prospect United Methodist Church. He served as superintendent of the National FFA Dairy contest, and supervisor of the Vo-Ag state judging contest (which he was asked to come back and judge this past November 2016). He introduced the Marion County Hall of Fame, promoted the Marion County Park District, Scioto Conservancy District, and the Ed Huber Association. He was inducted into the Ohio Agricultural Council Hall of Fame. Mr. Watkins owned and operated the former Prospect Laundromat. He also was the owner and broker of Prospect Realty.

Family was always at the core of his life, from making his home in Prospect the center of activity, to his love affair with Hessel, where he maintained a vacation home that all of his family enjoyed throughout the years. Mr. Watkins enjoyed Sunday family dinners and supporting the Ohio State Buckeyes, Elgin Comets, and North Union Wildcats. He also enjoyed snowmobiling, waterskiing, traveling all over the world, and attending sporting events with family and friends.

He is survived by four daughters and their families, Deborah and William Boyle of Bellefontaine, Ohio, Susan and Marc Ahmay of Prospect, Krista and Tim Sullivan of Marion, Ohio, and Judith Anderson of Prospect; a son and his family, Thomas and Julie Watkins of Hessel; 12 grandchildren, Aric and Brandy Stover, Jennifer Gossett, Patrick Boyle, Brandi and Jesse Miller, Kyle Ahmay, Abbey and Nick Hajjar, Austin and Elizabeth Sullivan, Sarah Watkins, Benjamin and Tara Watkins, Katie and Craig Brandt-Watkins, and Kain and Kori Anderson, and 13 great-grandchildren, Bailee and Alivia Stover, Makayla Stover, Maria Gossett, Hayze, Nash, and Reese Miller, Nickolas and Wesley Hajjar, Thomas, Tanner, and Paige Watkins, and Lincoln Watkins. He is also survived by a brother, Wayne Watkins of Brookville, and two brothers-inlaw, Richard Coonfare and Harold Watkins.

In addition to his parents, Mr. Watkins was preceded in death by his wife, Jacquelyn, who died June 22, 1998; his stepmother, Mable Watkins, and three sisters-in-law, Dorothy Watkins, Elizabeth Coonfare, and Charlotte Watkins.

Services were Tuesday, February 21, at 11 a.m. at the Prospect United Methodist Church with Pastor Carolyn Christman officiating.

Visitation was Monday, February 20, from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Elgin High School cafetorium in Marion.

Burial was in Prospect Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be directed to John and Jackie Watkins Scholarship, c/o the Marion Community Foundation, 504 South State Street, Marion, OH 43302.

Stofcheck-Ballinger Funeral Home in Richwood, Ohio, assisted the family with arrangements.

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