Joe Lester Watkins was born November 25, 1934 in Rosebud, Texas to Ernest Calvin and Jewel Fay Vickers Watkins. He went to the arms of his Lord and Savior on October 2, 2018 with his wife and children by his side. He was preceded in death on March 26, 2018 by his son Randy Joe Watkins. Also preceding him were his parents, brother Calvin and his wife Betty Jo; brother Charles and sister Dorothy.
He will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 62 years Barbara Read Watkins; daughter and son-in-law, Kathy Renee and Glenn Villemez; son and daughter-in-law, Don Alan and Lisa Watkins; grandchildren Evan and wife Elise Villemez; Valerie and Jackson Watkins; great grandchildren Grey and Gena Villemez. He is also survived by his sister-in-law, Nellie Watkins and many other relatives.
Joe attended school in Baytown and graduated from Robert E. Lee High School. He was a salesman at heart and spent 30+ years working at Woods Home Center until their closing. He continued working in home improvement stores until his retirement. He said many times that he worked for John Q Public, and he would go out of his way to provide the best customer service possible.
Joe enjoyed camping and doing woodworking projects, but his passion was cooking and baking. In 1985 The Baytown Sun ran an article featuring Joe by his pit and seated behind some of his freshly baked cakes, pies and cookies. He was gracious to all that provided a service (postal workers, sanitation personnel, doctors, firefighters, and his kids or grandkids teachers). On his day off Joe could usually be found wearing his apron. He was even known to bake his miniature pies for airline flight crews. He did so on trips to New York and Miami, although his wife told him she was sure they would not be able to accept them. Not only did they accept them, but the same flight crew was on one of the return trips and recognized him. They presented him with a slice of their cheesecake and a bottle of wine. He never accepted money for any of this because he said then it would no longer be a hobby.
Joe used his woodworking skills to make bookcases, shelves and a rolling coat rack when Trinity Episcopal moved to their new location on North Main. He got a lot of joy making craft items that would make people chuckle.
He was very proud to have been a team father for both of his sons’ Little League teams, and a bus chaperone for his daughter’s Brigadier trips. He was able to enjoy his grandchildren’s activities until Alzheimers took its toll.
A friend shared “He did so much to make this world a better place with his talented woodworking and cooking—in a simple humble way, he shared God’s love to so many.”
The family would like to say a public thank you to caregiver Gabriela Gonzalez of Visiting Angels and to the Faith Community Hospice staff. A special thanks goes to Vickie Durst and Alisha Cottrell who so lovingly cared for him while he was in Ms. Vickie’s Personal Care Home the last 4 1/2 months of his life.
A memorial service for Joe will be held at Trinity Episcopal Church on Saturday, October 13 at 2 p.m. with the Rev. Meredith Crigler officiating.
There will be a reception following the service.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Trinity Episcopal Church Building Fund, 5010 N. Main, Baytown, Tx 77521 or to the Alzheimer Foundation at alzfdn.org/support-us/donate.
Trinity Episcopal Church
5010 N. Main, Baytown TX 77521