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Former Anchorage resident Vernon C. Watkins, 90, died May 6, 2007, at Methodist North Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.
A memorial service is planned for a later date, after which he will be laid to rest in his hometown, Venango, Neb.
Mr. Watkins was born Oct. 21, 1916 in Venango, to Elmer and Esther Watkins. After graduating from high school, he earned a bachelor's degree in industrial arts and education from Kearney State Teachers College, Kearney, Neb. His teaching career began in West Virginia but was soon interrupted by a call to military service during World War II. He served in the U.S. Navy. After the war, he completed a degree in sacred literature at San Jose Bible College, Calif.
In 1955, in a spirit of adventure, Mr. Watkins with his wife and five children set off for Alaska in a crowded station wagon, towing a heavily loaded utility trailer. Soon after arriving, he began working at Fort Richardson. He retired from heavy equipment preservation work in 1974 and left Alaska.
Mr. Watkins had a lifelong love of music that began with high school glee club and college quartets. The pianist for the quartet would later become his wife. Although he enjoyed many types of music, gospel quartet music was his favorite.
NASCAR, basketball and football were favorite sports to follow. He was a serious supporter of the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
His family wrote: "He was an accomplished woodworker with a fine eye for design. Many friends and family have pieces of his work attesting to his skill and generousity.
"In every community they lived, Mr. Watkins was active in local churches. He will be remembered for his faithful leadership in the congregations he served.
"Honoring God, love for family and patriotism were guiding values in our father's life. A kind, compassionate and generous nature compelled him to help others whenever the opportunity was presented."
He is survived by his daughters and their spouses, Sally and Don Todd of Millington, Tenn., Bonnie and Dale Workman of Los Gatos, Calif., Becky and Gary Dugan of Cupertino, Calif., Holly and Dan Reynolds of Anchorage; son, Tom Watkins of Millington, Tenn.; 10 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his "sweetheart" of 62 years, Helen Elizabeth.
Memorials are suggested to MICO Inner City/Prison Ministry, P.O. Box 221041, Memphis, TN 38122-9041.
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