Violet Jane Watkins
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Violet Jane Watkins passed away on April 28, 2014, the only child born to Nashville physician, Dr. John T. Watkins, Jr. and wife, Violet Burnside Watkins, on August 22, 1918. She is predeceased by her parents and her three aunts, Croyzette, Vivian and Lillian Watkins.
Miss Watkins grew up in Nashville and was a graduate of Peabody Demonstration School. Miss Watkins attended Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1940 with a BA degree in History and Latin. Miss Watkins returned to Nashville to attend graduate school at Vanderbilt University where she received an MA degree in History. Miss Watkins taught at Sullins College in Bristol, VA, before returning to Nashville where she taught history for many years at The Harpeth Hall School.
Miss Watkins' early life became the subject of several articles and documentaries regarding her engagement to Lt. Charles Winnia, a WWII Marine Aviator, whom she met while attending Vanderbilt University. Lt. Winnia and his aircraft were lost over the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific and he did not return. His diary, a heartfelt expression of his relationship with Violet Jane Watkins, was later discovered and identified and, along with his letters to her, led to a PBS documentary. Miss Watkins was a long-time member of the Church of the Advent, Nashville Women's Club, Tennessee Ornithological Society and The English-Speaking Union. She was an avid bird watcher and supporter of many charities, including The Nature Conservancy, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, Nashville Humane Society and the American Veterans of Foreign Wars. Most recently, she was President of the Resident's Council at Woodcrest Health Center, where she has resided for the past eight years.
Friends will be received at Mount Olivet Funeral Home, 1101 Lebanon Pike, at 1 o'clock p.m. on this Thursday, May 1st, with a service to follow at 2 p.m., officiated by The Reverend Carola von Wrangel. Burial will be in the Watkins Family plot at Mount Olivet Cemetery, Nashville, TN.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Church of the Advent or the
Published in The Tennessean from Apr. 29 to May 1, 2014