John W. Watkins, 87, long-time Prospect businessman, educator and former Marion County Commissioner, died unexpectedly Wednesday morning, February 15, 2017 in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
He was born June 25, 1929 in Radnor to the late John J. and Lucille (Benzler) Watkins. On July 26, 1953 he married the former Jacquelyn June Osborn in Radnor, and she died June 22, 1998. He was also preceded in death by his step-mother, Mable Watkins, sisters-in-law, Dorothy Watkins, Elizabeth Coonfare, and Charlotte Watkins.
A 1947 graduate of Radnor High School, he received his Bachelor's Degree in 1951 and Master's Degree in 1959 from The Ohio State University in Agricultural Education.
John spent 16 years teaching at Waldo, Prospect, and Elgin schools. In 1967 he became a Vo-Ag Supervisor with the State Department of Education serving schools in northwest Ohio, and retired in 1984. A staunch republican, he served as Marion County Commissioner from 1984-2000.
John was a very civic-minded person, as evidenced by his many active memberships. Among them were lifetime member of the American Vocational Association, Ohio Educational Association, Honorary American Farmer Degree, 65 year Mason member of Hiram Lodge #18 F&AM in Delaware, Aladdin Shrine, NRA, NEA, member of the Prospect and Delaware Senior Citizens, member of the Ohio Farm Bureau, member of The Prospect United Methodist Church, Superintendent of the National FFA Dairy contest, supervisor of the Vo-Ag state judging contest (which he was asked to come back and judge this past November 2016), introduced the Marion County Hall of Fame, promoted Marion County Park District, Scioto Conservancy District, and the Ed Huber Association, owned and operated the former Prospect Laundromat, inducted into the Ohio Agricultural Council Hall of Fame, owner/broker of Prospect Realty.
Family was always at the core of John’s life, from making his home in Prospect the center of activity, to his love affair with Hessel, Michigan where he maintained a vacation home that all of his family enjoyed over the years. This legacy of family togetherness was paramount to John. Sunday family dinners, supporting the Ohio State Buckeyes, Elgin Comets, and North Union Wildcats, snowmobiling, waterskiing, traveling all over the world, and attending sporting events were just some of the things that John enjoyed with family and friends.
He is survived by four daughters, Deborah (William) Boyle, Bellefontaine; Susan (Marc) Ahmay, Prospect; Krista (Tim) Sullivan, Marion; Judith Anderson, Prospect; a son, Thomas (Julie) Watkins, Hessel, Michigan; twelve grandchildren, Aric (Brandy) Stover, Jennifer Gossett, Patrick Boyle, Brandi (Jesse) Miller, Kyle Ahmay, Abbey (Nick) Hajjar, Austin (Elizabeth) Sullivan, Sarah Watkins, Benjamin (Tara) Watkins, Katie (Craig) Brandt-Watkins, and Kain and Kori Anderson; thirteen 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; a brother, Wayne Watkins, Brookville; brothers-in-law, Richard Coonfare and Harold Watkins, Delaware.
Funeral services will be Tuesday, February 21, 2017 at 11:00 AM at the Prospect United Methodist Church with Pastor Carolyn Christman officiating. Burial will follow in Prospect Cemetery. Friends may call Monday from 2 to 8 PM at the Elgin High School Cafetorium, 1239 Keener Road South, Marion, OH 43302. Visitors are asked to use the Athletic entrance.
Memorial gifts may be made to John & Jackie Watkins Scholarship c/o the Marion Community Foundation, 504 S. State St., Marion, OH 43302.
Condolences and remembrances may be expressed at www.stofcheck-ballinger.com.