Bill Dean Watkins was born February 10, 1952 in Kansas City, Kansas to the union of Lee Ed Watkins, Sr. and Mildred Lawrence Watkins. Bill was the sixth child of twelve sisters and brothers.
Bill grew up in the Kansas City school district where he attended Wendell Phillips Elementary, Sanford B. Ladd Elementary, Central Junior and Central Senior High School graduating in the alumni class of 1970.
At an early age, Bill sold the Kansas City Call weekly newspaper door to door and remained a loyal reader for the remainder of his life. As a teenager, Bill worked at the YMCA as a lifeguard. Following graduation, he worked as a laborer at Bob Eldridge Construction with his Dad and brother Eugene in the building of Crown Center. Bill was later hired at Ford Motor Company as a laborer, retiring as a Torque Inspector with 35 years of service. After retirement, he continued to stay active as the Building Engineer within his church home, the Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ.
Bill Watkins was an active member in the church. He began his walk with the Lord on July 29, 1985 at the Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ under the leadership of Suffragan Bishop Daniel Chavis Jr. He served as President of the Men’s Ministry, treasurer of the church, and was a member of the Deacon Board and the Board of Trustees. When it came to God’s house, he was a dedicated and faithful steward working heartily unto the Lord.
On December 28, 1985, Bill was united in marriage to Betty Ann Watkins. To their union one beautiful daughter (Ayla) was born. Bill loved his wife and daughter with all that was in him. He made a promise to Betty that he would make sure his little “Ayla Cup” graduated from college, and that promise he kept.
Bill loved his sports. He was a member of the Central Senior High School Wrestling Team and played Basketball and Baseball for Ford Motor UAW Local 249. As a child, he dreamed of playing baseball for the Royals.
Though not well known, he loved music from Earth, Wind, and Fire and The Commodores (Zoom). But most of all, he loved the singing of his beloved wife and daughter – always making sure to have Ayla’s cassette tape or CD (featuring Betty’s background vocals) in his car.
Bill was a wonderful son, husband, father, grandfather, brother, nephew, uncle, cousin, and friend. He willingly gave to others and didn’t expect to get anything back. It was just in his nature. He was very supportive of his family and took pride in attending family functions (he always had the ice and drinks covered). No matter how far, he made sure to attend the high school and college graduations of his daughter, nephews, and nieces.
He had an everlasting effect on anyone he met; he was fun to be around and had jokes for days. He never met a stranger; always sparking up a conversation with anyone around - whether on the elevator or in a grocery store line. His daughter called him “Mr. Big Man-on-Campus” because he seemed to know almost everyone, everywhere they went.
God called Bill home on July 18, 2021. His Wife, Betty Ann Watkins, Father, Lee Ed Watkins, Sr., Mother, Mildred Lawrence Watkins, brothers, Daniel Lucky Watkins and Eugene Kelly Watkins, and oldest sister, Dorothy M. Rogers preceded him in death.
He leaves to cherish his memories, one daughter, Ayla D. Jacobs (Harry) of Bowie, MD; one grandson, Landon Jacobs (and another on the way); three brothers, Lee Ed Watkins, Jr., Charles E. Watkins, and Raymond D. Watkins; and five sisters, Ruthie M. Watkins, Betty J. Vaughn, Josephine Conaway, Barbara A. Bryant and Sheila R. Brock, all of Kansas City, MO; a host of nephews, nieces, cousins, church family, and other relatives and friends.
Funeral service will be held Saturday, July 31, 2021, 2:00pm at the Watkins Heritage Chapel. Interment Brooking Cemetery. Visitation will be from 1pm-2pm at the chapel. Service conducted by Lawrence A. Jones & Sons Funeral Chapel. Condolences may be shared on our website. Services will be Livestreamed: mstcsunset.com. This facility requires social distancing and face coverings indoors
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