Cover photo for William Watkins's Obituary
William Watkins Profile Photo
1949 William 2020

William Watkins

December 17, 1949 — November 3, 2020

Bill Watkins had a witty sense of humor with an ornery side. He cherished time spent with the love of his life, Sandy and enjoyed any time spent outdoors and relaxing while hunting.

Born William Watkins on December 17, 1949 in Frankfort, Kentucky, he was the son of Sammy and Chelcie Watkins. Bill was born during a time that the first automatic streetlights were being installed, the first Polaroid camera went on sale, and the world's first commercially available computer was released. Also, RCA perfected a system for broadcasting color television, and the first commercial passenger jet airliner, De-Havilland Comet, took its first test flight. With the exciting technology advancing and brining different forms of entertainment to children, Bill still at a young age learned the value of hard work and the love of the being outside.

After the passing of his birth father, his mother married Claude Williams and he grew up in Marshall, Michigan. While attending the local schools, he play baseball and enjoyed boxing and wrestling. He may have not been the biggest guy, but no one intimidated Bill. To earn money, he mowed lawns and with that money in his pocket, he was left with choices that he later would joke to his family about.

Bill loved to go listen to music and dance. On one night out, he spotted a gal that was out with her friends and the two began talking and danced the night away.  After making a good impression on her, she drove back to Marshall the following weekend from Indiana to go back dancing with Bill. The two fell in love and on October 22, 1988, Bill married Sandra S. Brown and he moved to Columbia City, Indiana.

For 15 years, Bill worked at Kilgore Manufacturing in Columbia City and for the Columbia City Post & Mail for eight years. On the same day, he, and Sandy both retired but they kept plenty busy. They were inseparable and walked countless miles together. They usually ended their walks with a relaxing drink before dinner. Aside from walking, they also bowled in a couple’s league and golfed. He was a member of the Columbia City VFW and they attended many other functions at the Eagles and the Moose.

Life forever changed for Bill on July 17, 2019 when Sandy passed away and on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, he joined her once again. Bill is survived by his son, James C. (Susan) Watkins; daughter, Toni L. (Russ) Gates; brothers, James (Joann) Watkins and Glen (Penny) Watkins; sisters, Linda (James) Watkins, Carol Watkins, Juanita (Dale) Laffler and Peggy (Gary) Grigowski; and several grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews, including Melinda who helped Bill and Sandy for the past seven years. He was also preceded in death by his parents and brothers, Lewis Watkins and Duane Watkins.

Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Monday, November 9, 2020 at DeMoney-Grimes Funeral Home, 600 Countryside Drive, Columbia City with visitation begin at 10 a.m. With the current Executive Order, face masks are required for attendance. funeral service may also be watched live on Facebook through DeMoney Grimes Live. Funeral Celebrant Sharon Brockhaus will be officiating, and Bill will be laid to rest beside Sandy at South Park (Annex) Cemetery. Memorial donations may be given in his memory to the Alzheimer's Association. Visit to send online condolences or sign the online guest book.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of William Watkins, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Monday, November 9, 2020

10:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Monday, November 9, 2020

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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