/ Obituaries / Earl Charles Watkins, Jr.

Earl Charles Watkins, Jr.


Earl Charles Watkins, Jr., of Manitowish Waters, formerly of Delavan, Wisc., passed away on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020 at his home with his loving wife, Betty, at his side. Mr. Watkins was born Dec. 16, 1937 in Oshkosh. He married the love of his life Betty Scheuerman on Dec. 26, 1964 in Oshkosh, and honeymooned in Rice Lake because of ice fishing.

While in Delavan he was a member of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church where he served as president of the congregation and a member of the choir. He enjoyed music and also singing solos for the services, funerals and weddings.

Mr. Watkins received his bachelor of education degree from Oshkosh State College and was employed by the Fond du Lac School system for three years at Luco School, while residing in Little Elkhart Lake, Wisc. He received his certification as Teacher of the Deaf from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He was employed as a teacher of the deaf at the Wisconsin School for the Deaf in Delavan, in the high school department. While there he was the boys’ track coach, which he enjoyed doing for 10 years. He was a judge for the State WIAA track meet in the discus/shot event. Although he received the 35 Year Appreciation Award, he still volunteered for several more years. He continued his education at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he received the degree of master of education-professional development. At that time he transferred from the teachers department to become the school’s media specialist.

Upon retirement they moved to Manitowish Waters, where they often had vacation in the northern areas. They lived on the Trout River which is part of the beautiful Manitowish Chain of Lakes. He was a member of the Trinity Lutheran Church of Boulder Junction and a member of the choir and also sang solos. He was a representative of the Lutheran Laymen’s League and the Luther Hour Mission. While at the Lutheran Laymen’s League conference he was presented with the Christian Laymen’s Award for his involvement in achieving the goals of the Lutheran Hour Ministries.

His love for teaching and enjoying the classroom continued after his retirement. He was a substitute teacher in the Mercer School District for several years. He loved all the grades, but kindergarten was not his favorite and study time was when he could help the students the most.

He had a great love for nature, especially the wildlife that often visited our yard and feeders. He often experienced the peacefulness of the north whether he was boating, fishing, snowmobiling and motorcycling. His hobbies including playing cards; Euchre and Sheepshead, and was part of the Cribbage Club. He was an excellent trap shooter both in Delavan and at the Minocqua Gun Club. Being an avid traveler, they visited 37 of our states with their camper and including a cruise to Alaska and Hawaii. They toured both North and South Islands of New Zealand for their 25th anniversary. The other islands where they vacationed were Jamaica, Aruba, Bahamas and Puerto Rico. The 40th anniversary was a trip to the Rose Bowl, when they volunteered to work with the Petal Pushers helping to trim the Lions Float and the Lutheran Hour Float and then enjoying the parade.

They had a fantastic tour of Europe for 23 days which included 10 countries that started in London, England and ended in Greece. Their final tour was in 2009 which was Israel, Egypt and Jordan. He loved bowling and was part of the college bowling team and the teams in Delavan and in Oshkosh being a part of the championship team of the King Pin’s and JJ’s team in Minocqua in Men’s Tourney. The highlight of his bowling was earning the 298 Award in 1960 and his disappointment was never having a 300 score.

Music has been in his life since he was a youth. There were church choirs, college choir, where he also sang solos for funerals and weddings. He was a member of the Campanile Choir in Minocqua. His love for music did not only include singing, but also percussion instruments, especially the drums. He marched with the Becker Accordion Band as part of the drum section. This was a very unique band which toured Wisconsin.

He was a member of the Lions Club of Manitowish Waters. He served as president, past president and several years as a director. He was one of the coordinators for the recycling of glasses with the Wisconsin Lions Camp. He made several trips to Mexico with the Lion’s Mission to Mexico for the fitting of glasses. He was a transporter for the Lions Eye Bank of Wisconsin. He received the Citizen of the Year Award, the Knight of Sight Fellowship Award and the prestigious Birch-Sturm Fellowship. He was an active member in many of the projects of the Lions. His all time favorite was being Santa Claus for Christmas for the town.

Earl was preceded in death by his parents, Earl and Laura (Beier) Watkins, Sr. and his youngest brother, Kenneth Watkins. He is survived by his wife of 55 loving years, Betty (Scheuerman) Watkins; his brother, Ralph (Rose) Watkins, and their son Michael; sister-in-law, Judith Watkins and children Richard Watkins and Karry Moen. A great-niece Johanna Moen. 

There are so many to thank, our neighbors and friends. The families of DeMarte and Shepherd, especially Jody Shepherd who was Earl’s care taker and never left his side. The Manitowish Waters Fire Company/EMTs; the nurses on the third floor at Ascension, The Lakes Mobility Service Staff and Hospice Staff and the Rev. John Frahm III who was a wonderful comfort to both of us.

Visitation will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Boulder Junction, followed by a Funeral Service at 11 a.m. A Visitation will also be held from 10 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020 at Seefeld Funeral Home in Oshkosh, followed by a Funeral Service at 11 a.m. and inurnment at Peace Lutheran Cemetery. Sheryl Aleksinski will be interpreting both services for the deaf.

In lieu of flowers, Earl had his favorite charities: Lions Eye Bank of Wisconsin, Minocqua Gun Club Youth Program, Seeing for Lelyn Foundation and the Wisconsin School for the Deaf.

Bolger Cremation and Funeral Services is assisting the family, 715-356-3200 or visit www.bolgerfuneral.com to share condolences. 

 

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