William Allen Watkins
July 10, 1936 - May 12, 2021
Father: Henry Clay Watkins Born in Oklahoma and moved to Kansas. The family was part of the influx of people moving because of the dust bowl. They could no longer make a living on the farm. Henry only had 1 job in his lifetime and that was for the Whittier Daily News. He started as a paperboy at apx. 12 years old and retired as the printing press mechanic. Henry and his family came to Whittier from Kansas in the early 1920's. There were 6 Boys and 1 Girl and they all lived within a few blocks of each other in Whittier. They were poor and the boys had to learn to shoot at an early age for food for the family. After they moved to Whittier, the Salvation Army would pay the Watkins' boys to bring them rabbits to feed the hungry. They were farmers and grew their own vegetables and Bill learned from his father how to garden and how to fix things. One of Henry's brothers, Joe Watkins, went to East Whittier School with the future president, Richard Nixon. The Nixon family owned a store in Whittier and were very wealthy.
Mother: Evelyn Grace Lawrence Born in Kent England
When William was born his Father purchased a brand new house in 1936 and Bill and his Mother moved in it from the hospital. When Bill was around 8 years old, his Grandfather, George Lawrence, (who came from England and was a bricklayer) built the house next door out of blocks. Bill still owns both houses in Uptown Whittier. Bill was 12 years old when he built his first car engine and he joined the Road Runners car club which was with the S.C.T.A. and raced a 1955 Chev Bel Air that he had put together with a friend. He raced mostly at Bonneville Salt Flats and he held the record in his class for many years at the race track. His cousin, Donna Watkins married Buzz Moon, who was part owner of Moon Equipment. He was involved with the Miller Brothers, Zeke and Ak Miller, who were also in the car club and helped build some of the race cars of the famous race car drivers of that time.
Bill learned to fix cars from his Father. He also took machine shop in school at Whittier High School and after he was out of school he not only worked as a machinist, but he also was the owner of his own machine shop.
When Bill was 16 years old he got married and had three children before he was 21 years old. In his lifetime he had many jobs. He worked at various gas stations in Whittier and was also a lot boy for the Ford dealership in Whittier, Frank Dore Ford. He was a machinist for Virgil Krick in Whittier, and then went to work at Aerojet General and had one of the top clearances while he worked there.
He has owned many of his own businesses: He was the owner of a machine shop in Whittier with his cousin Gary Watkins. He then owned a car mechanic shop and did a lot of work for the local Whittier car dealerships. He then had his own trucking business called W A Watkins & Son Trucking with his son William Watkins. He not only worked driving his dump truck all day, but then he would come home and fix other dump trucks for his fellow workers. He had various trucks and had drivers on the trucks including his son, William Donald. They mostly worked locally on pipelines. Bill worked for the flood control cleaning out the flood basins and would work his trucks 24 hours straight for many weeks. He did all his own repairs including changing engines on the trucks. The truckers all had CB radios in their trucks and he was known as the "Big Rider" as his CB handle.
He was 35 years old when he married Sue and he also got a new daughter Tracie. After he had a truck accident, he sold his trucking business and he then bought homes in Whittier and became a landlord.
Bill was a self-made man and there was nothing that he could not do or make with his hands. He did all the repairs on his houses, he had a key machine and made all his own keys. He had a Bridgeport Milling Machine and continued making different things. He also decided to play the stock market.
He had many hobbies and always kept himself busy. He loved to ocean fish and owned many boats. He loved going to Clearlake, California where he lived right on the water and could take his boat out fishing and boat riding. His good friend Tom Chisam would sometimes go with him to catch the bass fish out of the lake. He loved to grow his own vegetables and even grew his own apple tree from a seed he planted. He made some of his own furniture and was a handyman and could fix or repair anything.
He is survived by his wife, Sue Rottweiler Phillips Watkins whom he was married to for 48 years.
His Children: William Donald Watkins and wife Jennifer MacLeod
Deborah Jo Woodson
Mary Ann Isenhour and husband James Isenhour
Tracie Gardner and husband Jeff Gardner
His Grandchildren: Joe Allen Woodson
John Michael Woodson and wife Jennifer Woodson
Candace Blodgett and husband Cody Blodgett
Taylor Renee Gardner
Jordan Bailey Gardner
His Great Grandchildren; Nicholas Woodson
Rylee Madison Holderfield
Brooklyn Donna Blodgett
His family and friends was the most important thing in Bill's life and we all love him dearly and he will be missed!
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