William Elmer (Tug) Watkins died peacefully of natural causes at the Logan Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on Friday, July 1, 2011, just shy of 93 years old. He had been at LNRC for less than three months.
He was born July 9, 1918, in Logan, the first of three sons to William Brown Watkins and Laura Ireva Elmer Watkins. He had fond memories of growing up in west Logan near the Borden Milk factory, the Logan River, and the Logan Lumber yard, with numerous aunts, uncles and cousins. His bright red hair, lively antics, and given name Elmer earned him the nick name of "Tug" after the red-headed Elmer Tuggles in the A.C.Fera/Charles Winner Sunday comic strip "Just a Boy". The nick name stayed with him all his life.
He attended the Woodruff School, Logan Junior High, Logan High School, and graduated from Utah State Agricultural College June 1, 1941 in Business Administration. A year prior to graduation he was offered a position at USAC as secretary. He was associated with the college (which subsequently became Utah State University) all his professional life. He was an internal auditor at the time he retired.
On June 3, 1941, he married Ruth Mae Anderson in the Logan LDS Temple. Ruth Mae was the daughter of Joseph Andrew Anderson and Honora Milicent Willmore. Within a year and a half they had completed their dream home and were expecting their first child. The war was intensifying, and he was drafted. Serving in the Pacific theater, he returned to meet his daughter, Marilyn Ann, for the first time when she was 3 years old. In the years that followed they had three sons, William Thomas, Stanley Joseph and Robert Peter.
Ruth Mae and Elmer enjoyed lifelong friendships fostered during service in church and civic callings, and professional associations. Until Ruth Mae's death, the couple lived in the home they built as newly weds. They raised all of their children there. A number of grandchildren spent time in the home while going to school or spending summers with grandparents. The family fondly refers to the home as "545", the address numbers above the mailbox. Sometime after Ruth Mae's death, Elmer moved to Pioneer Valley Lodge, but continued to have the same phone number the family had since the 435 area code was assigned. Once Elmer moved to Pioneer Valley, grandchildren lived in the home.
As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Logan 9th Ward most of his married life, he served in many church callings. His children observed that, although Ruth Mae was a force behind the family meeting for family prayer, he directed the family in prayer and he was reassuring and a comfort when he was the voice.
He is survived by his brother Derrald Lewis Watkins, Ogden; his three sons, William Thomas Watkins, Edinburg, Texas, Stanley Joseph Watkins, Loveland, Colo., and Robert Peter Watkins, Phoenix, Ariz. He is survived by 11 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren. His wife, Ruth Mae Anderson, and daughter, Marilyn Ann Willmore preceded him in death.
The three sons express sincere thanks to those who have been so kind to Dad in the recent years. His special buddies have meant a great deal to him, and will forever have our gratitude.
Funeral services will be held noon Wednesday, June 6, 2011, at Nelson Funeral Home, 162 E. 400 North, Logan, with President J. Stanley Thomas presiding. Friends may call from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. prior to the service at the Nelson Funeral Home. Burial will be in the Logan Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donating to the
, Utah Division Office, 941 East 3300 South, Salt Lake City, Utah 84016.
Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.nelsonfuneralhome.com.