Floyd Eugene (Gene) Watkins, 91, of Rimrock, Arizona, passed at the home of his daughter, Judy, in Challis, Idaho, on the evening of July 25, 2018, after a short battle with cancer.
He was born Nov. 21, 1926, in South Greenfield, Missouri, to George Lester Watkins and Pearl Marie Watkins. He was the oldest of three children.
Gene was raised in and went to school in Greenfield, where he completed the 7th grade. His family moved to California about 1940.
He joined the United States Army in March of 1945, serving during World War II. During his service he received the World War II Victory Medal, the Asiatic Pacific Theater Ribbon and the Good Conduct Medal.
While he was serving in the Phillipines at Layte, his father was severely injured and disabled in an accident. Because his father was unable to provide for his daughter and his wife who was expecting their 3rd child the Red Cross assisted the family in locating Gene and he was given an honorable discharge in November 1946 in order to go home to provide for his mother and siblings.
That year, 1946, Gene met Ludine Bishop and they were married in August of 1948. Two children were born of that union, Linda Marie in 1951 and Judy Kay in 1953. They were together for 10 years when they decided to go their separate ways, with the girls going to live with their mother in Idaho.
He spent the next 10 years as a single man, footloose and fancy free. Every year he would head to Idaho to get his two girls and bring them back to Fresno with him for the summer.
Gene had different vocations over the years. He worked at a winery in Fresno, as well as for Libby as head electrician, then a rug weaver, and at North American Aviation in Fresno to assemble airplane parts, then eventually retiring from Rancher’s Cotton Oil in Fresno, California.
Gene became reacquainted with an old friend, Helen Christine Plaskett, in 1970 and they were married on Nov. 18 that year. They were both baptized into the Baptist Church in 1983 when they chose to dedicate their lives to our Lord.
They left Fresno around 1990 and moved to Rimrock, Arizona, where they enjoyed their retirement on their little piece of the desert.
They were together for 32 years until Christine’s death on Dec. 29, 2002. Christine had five children from her previous marriage - Joyce Christine, Robert Steven, Novella Charlene, Cathy Ann, and Edward Randall.
From his two marriages, he was blessed with 14 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren and 11 great-great-grandchildren.
Gene was preceded in death by his mother and father, George and Pearl Watkins; his wife, Christine Watkins; and two nephews, Jeff Bond and Michael Watkins. Gene is survived by his two daughters, Linda Davis (Leon) - Grand Bay, Alabama, and Judy Knapp (Larry) - Challis, Idaho; stepchildren, Joyce Helz (Mike) - Evansville, Indiana, Charlie Fufaro - Prescott, Arizona, Cathy Klooster (Mike) - Phoenix, Arizona, Steve Plaskett - Phoenix, Arizona, and Randy Plaskett - Peoria, Arizona; sister, MaryLou Bond/Bishop (Jay B) - Fresno, California; and brother, Larry Watkins (Pat) - Fresno, California; along with the numerous grandchildren and nieces and nephews
His friends and family will always remember him for his crooked smile, his big heart, his easy going personality and his willingness to always help anyone who needed it or asked. He was a joy to be around because he was so caring and giving. He was a very loving father, grandfather, brother and husband. He will be missed by many whose lives he touched.
Funeral arrangements will be handled by Westcott Funeral Home of Cottonwood, Arizona. Services will be held Wednesday, Aug. 8 at 10:30 a.m., at the Montezuma Chapel in Rimrock, Arizona, with Pastor Scott Worden officiating. Viewing will be 9:30-10:30 a.m., prior to the service.
Following the service at 2 p.m., there will be military honors and burial at the National Memorial Cemetary of Arizona at Cave Creek in Phoenix.
An online guestbook is available to sign at www.westcottfuneralhome.com
Information provided by survivors.