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Willie Watkins, Jr.
April 4, 1948 ~ October 20, 2023 (age 75) 75 Years Old
1 Tree, Flower, or Condolence has been shared with support of Willie's family - View on Tribute Wall
Willie Lee Watkins Jr. was Born April 4, 1948, in Nashville, TN to the late Viola and Willie L Watkins Sr. He was preceded by his baby brother, Bobby Watkins.
They moved to Dayton, OH and Willie grew up in Jefferson Township. At Jefferson High School his need for speed had him running track by day and drag racing with his friends by night.
After high school Willie went directly into the United States Army as a paratrooper jumping out of planes fighting in the Vietnam war. After his service in the army, he reenlisted with the United States Navy. He did many tours around the world and retired as a Navy recruiter enlisting hundreds if not thousands of young sailors into service for our country. After retiring from the military Willie went on to work in retail sales, managing and consulting many Bachrach clothing stores around the Midwest.
Willie loved his Oakland now Las Vegas Raiders. And was a loyal fan and supporter for many decades. I can still him shouting, “RAIDERS NATION!” every game day. He loved to travel, cruising, placing his bets and enjoying his children and grandchildren and simply enjoying life. He loved life so much; he was often the life of the party. Dominating and debating spirited conversations about sports and politics. Many of his online debates landed him in Facebook jail. But he didn’t care whether in person or online dad would always speak his mind.
He was a great father to his children, always present, never missing many of their major events in life. He was so proud to walk JP down the aisle. He loved all his grandkids through Dusty and Keith celebrating all their special events. He loved seeing Donte graduate from military school and being inducted in the Army Reserves. And he was especially proud to see his baby girl Jasmine graduate high school and get settled into the college of her choice. His legacy was his children and instilling in each of them, “PLAY TO WIN!”
He loved his friends and thoroughly enjoy being a Mason later in life. He never let the grass grow under his feet. He faced challenges and kept going. Willie Watkins truly lived full and died empty.
He is survived by former wife Ima Wideman. Daughter JP Watkins-Mukes. Son Willie Mukes. Daughter Dusty Watkins Henderson. Son Kieth Henderson. Former wife Lydia Watkins. Daughter Jasmine Watkins.
Son Kiam Donte Cook. And loving Partner Gail Braatz.
Grandchildren. Klayton Lee Henderson. Cate Henderson. Chyna Henderson. William and BreAnna Mukes. Great Grandchildren Jaxon Lee, Jagger, and Jrue. And a host of loving nieces, nephews, and friends.
“Play to win! No one remember second place.” -Willie Watkins Jr.