LOWVILLE, NY – Edward R. Watkins, 90, died Saturday, April 13, 2019, at Lewis County General Hospital with his loving family at his side.
Born Nov. 26, 1928, in Keene, NH, he was the son of the late Robert E. and Grace (Sweeney) Watkins. Ed graduated from Keene High School and served in the U.S. Navy as an Airman Apprentice.
He later graduated from Brewster Academy Prep School and the University of Vermont. Ed completed his graduate work required for Guidance Counseling Certification at both SUNY Potsdam and St. Lawrence University.
Ed married the love of his life, June Hall, on June 10, 1950 at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church in Keene, NH. They had a wonderful, loving marriage that lasted for over 68 years.
Edward began his teaching career at Vergennes High School in Vermont. Ed and June moved to Lowville in 1955, and he began his long career at Lowville Academy Central School. He taught Social Studies and coached football, track, and basketball. He became a guidance counselor and summer school principal in 1966. He later became the Director of Guidance and remained in that position for 17 years until he retired in June of 1990.
He is survived by his wife, June, and their children; Linda (Tony) Urbaniak of Lowville; Karen (Joe) Kozloski of Camillus; Michael (Christine) Watkins of Constableville; Elizabeth (Christopher) Persons of Syracuse; daughter-in-law Cynthia Watkins of Port Jervis; eleven grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren, all whom adored him.
Ed was predeceased by his children, Christine June Watkins and Robert Edward Watkins; a brother, Richard Watkins; and a sister, Barbara Watkins.
As past president of the Lowville Teachers Association, Ed negotiated and wrote the first contract at Lowville under the Taylor Law. He was also involved with the NYS United Teachers Association and the NYS Counselor Association where he served as Senator.
Ed was a member of BPOE Lodge #1605, where he served as Exalted Ruler, Senator of Elks, and State Vice President. He was honored by being named Elk of the Year and by receiving Honorary Life Membership.
Ed was very active in his community. He served on the Lewis County Selective Service and Jefferson Community College Advisory Boards. He also served on the NYS Youth Board, was a committeeman for Boy Scout Troop 1605 and was Lewis County Red Cross Chairman for Water Safety. Both Ed and June volunteered at the Boiler Maker Road Race for 10 years.
Ed was a communicant of St. Peter’s Church.
During his lifetime, Ed impacted many individuals and families. His legacy is the hundreds of students he guided to make decisions to enable success and the athletes who still call him Coach. He was always willing to lend a helping hand for those in need.
Ed was the very first lifeguard at Whetstone Gulf State Park. He and June, along with their 5 children at the time, resided on the campgrounds living in two canvas tents. It was a wonderful time that provided lively stories told during family get-togethers.
While spending 34 summers residing at Chase Lake Resort, Ed developed everlasting memories and lifelong friendships. Chase Lake provided a place for his entire family to spend quality time together. Ed and June also spent 20 years wintering in North Myrtle Beach.
Ed enjoyed camping, cross country skiing, tennis, golf, reading, and crossword puzzles. He enjoyed attending his grandchildren’s athletic events, concerts, and special activities. His greatest passion was spending time with his grandchildren and great grandchildren. A favorite activity was dancing the “BB” (Basketball Dance) at family weddings with all his daughters, daughter-in-laws, and granddaughters. At the young age of 85, Ed made a hole in one while golfing at Brantingham Golf Course.
Ed’s laughter and wonderful story telling will be greatly missed.
Calling hours will be 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 27, 2019, at Sundquist Funeral Home, located at 7676 N. State Street, Lowville. A memorial service will be held 4 p.m. Sunday, April 28, at the funeral home. Burial will be held at a later date at the convenience of the family.
Donations may be made to Northern NY Community Foundation, Attn: The Edward Watkins Determination Scholarship Award, 131 Washington St., Watertown, NY 13601.
An online message of condolence may be made at www.sundquistfh.com