On February 23, 2012 Arthur Rich Watkins, age 95, joined his beloved Ruth, who passed away in the summer of 2000. He was born on July 31, 1916 to Arthur V. and Andrea Rich Watkins in Salt Lake City.
He graduated from Lincoln High School in Orem, where he was student body president and prominent in forensics. He earned B.A. and M.A. degrees at BYU and a Ph.D. at Stanford. He also attended the University of Oslo in Norway and the University of Besancon in France.
After teaching briefly at Stanford and Weber State in 1952, he began teaching foreign languages at BYU. He was department chairman for 10 years. A versatile linguist, at various times he taught German, Norwegian, French, Italian, Russian, Gothic, and Middle High German. With Max Rogers and Walter Speidel he authored several German textbooks. In 1965 he inaugurated BYU's semester abroad program in Salzburg, Austria with 134 students. He conducted seven BYU travel study tours through Europe and one around the world. In 1958 he was a guest of the Federal Republic of Germany on a three-week cultural tour during which he met West Germany's political and literary leaders. After retirement he was biographer for the BYU Emeritus Association for eight years. Subsequently, he served as program chairman and president of Provo Golden Kiwanis.
During World War II, he gave up a fellowship in linguistics at Yale University to serve as crypt-analyst and German-voice interceptor for the army signal intelligence on the Italian front.
He was an active member of the LDS Church and, prior to World War II, served a three-year mission in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and France. Returning to Utah from Stanford in 1948, he served on two high councils, the General Sunday School Board, and presided over the Austrian and the Italy Padova Missions. He also served twice as a branch president in the Missionary Training Center.
In 1941 he married his sweetheart, Ruth Hansen in the Salt Lake Temple. They enjoyed many happy years together and loved to be with family and friends. They especially looked forward to family reunions. Born to them were four sons and four daughters. The family has now grown to 42 grandchildren and 109 great-grandchildren. Shortly after his wife's passing, he completed a 1400-page, two volume personal history. His hobbies were gardening, reading, and etymologies.
Arthur is survived by his children: Annette (Ron) Mann, Lynn (Cherie) Watkins, Laurel (Mark) Taylor, Bryan (Karen) Watkins, Marie (Bruce) Galbraith, Denise (Jim) Burton, Paul (Dena) Watkins, and Ronald (Susan) Watkins. He is also survived by two sisters, Nina Palmer and Venna Lange and is preceded in death by his parents; brother Don Watkins and sisters Nedra Reese, Martha Watkins, and Jeanene Scott.
The family would like to thank Summerfield Manor in Orem for their loving care these past six years.
Funeral services will be on Saturday, March 3 in the Cascade Third Ward Chapel, 1050 East 200 North in Orem at 1:00 p.m. Friends may call at the Sundberg-Olpin Mortuary, 495 S. State, Orem from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday and from 11:00 to 12:30 at the church prior to the funeral. Interment will be in the Orem City Cemetery. If preferred, the family suggests contributions in his name to the LDS Missionary Fund. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.SundbergOlpinMortuary.com
Published in Deseret News from Feb. 29 to Mar. 1, 2012