J. Willis Watkins

PORTLAND — J. Willis Watkins passed away peacefully on Feb. 15, 2011, in his home at Birchwood at Canco surrounded by his children.

He was born in Raymond on June 26, 1915, and was the son of James and Angie Watkins. He attended a one-room schoolhouse in Casco from first to eighth grade. He then moved to Portland, attending Deering High School and graduated in 1933. He attended Portland Jr. College and was the first president of the first class. This school is now known as the University of Maine in Portland. He then attended the Bentley School of Accounting in Boston.

He met his loving wife Eleanor Roche when they were teenagers and dated for eight years. They were married on a snowy Valentine’s Day in Washington, D.C. in 1940. They were married for 64 wonderful years. They then moved to Boston where Willis worked for the Liberty Mutual Insurance Company. In 1944, he moved back to Maine and worked in the insurance business, eventually starting a partnership called Anderson Watkins Insurance Agency.

Willis was a resident of Windham for over 50 years, and was very involved in the community. He served a term in the Maine Legislature and was selectman for the Town of Windham. He belonged to the Presumpscot Masonic lodge, was an active Kiwanian serving as president, vice president and lieutenant governor. Willis was an active member of the Windham Hill Church and was on the building committee for the Parrish Hall and on the Finance Committee. He was the oldest member of his church.

After retiring at age 57, Willis spent a number of years on Siesta Key in Sarasota and Nokomis, Fla., always returning to Maine in the summer. Some of his favorite pastimes were golfing, traveling and especially making miniature furniture and creating shadow box rooms to give to his children and grandchildren.

He was predeceased by his loving wife of 64 years.

Willis is survived by his children, Donna Luce of Salem, S.C., David Watkins of Turner and Winter Haven, Fla., Joan Rogers of Windham and Kimberly Stevens of Windham; 10 grandchildren and 17 great- grandchildren.

A celebration of life was held at the Windham Hill United Church of Christ, Windham Center Road, Windham, on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011. Private burial will be held in the Windham Hill Cemetery at the convenience of the family.

For online condolences, please visit the website at www.dolbyfuneralchapels.com, a service of Dolby Funeral Chapel, Windham.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: The Windham Hill UCC, 140 Windham Center Rd., Windham, ME 04062 or to the Windham Kiwanis, P.O. Box 245, Windham, ME 04062.

Please follow and like us: