PETER BRUCE WATKINS Peter Bruce Watkins died unexpectedly early Wednesday morning in the arms of his loving wife, after suffering from a heart attack. Husband. Father. Brother. Friend. Extraordinaire. Bruce was the third child of late Peter Judson Watkins, III and Patricia Frazier Watkins, born in Wilmington on April 16, 1954. Bruce was an exemplary student athlete at New Hanover High School, and served as captain of the tennis team there. He went on to study at UNC Chapel Hill, graduating in 1976 with a BA in English Education. Bruce worked with his father and brother at Watkins Paint and Hardware. There he served as manager and head practical jokester, before later opening his own hardware store, Bruce Watkins Supply, in 1985. Bruce first met his wife, Pamela Walker Watkins, at the hardware store. Bruce and Pam dated while playing on the same volleyball team, winning countless tournaments together. They were married in Queenstown, New Zealand, in November, 1982. Bruce and Pam have two children, Lillian Casey Watkins and Peter Judson Watkins, IV. Bruce spent years coaching Casey and Jud's sports teams and loved to travel with his family. He was a true conservationist, volunteer and outdoorsman. After selling his hardware store, in addition to being a tremendous father, Bruce became very involved in the Wilmington community. He co-founded the Cape Fear River Watch, served on the Board of the Community Boys and Girls Club, served as PTO president, read children's books (which he wrote and illustrated himself) at local schools, and volunteered at the YMCA, serving on the board there. Bruce also loved kayaking and canoeing with his friends and family, a passion that led him to serving as the coach for the United States Surf Kayak Team. Bruce was a true advocate for those without their own voices, including family, friends, children and the environment. No one loved the natural beauty of North Carolina more than Bruce. Bruce later worked for the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust, where his favorite projects involved conserving the land around rivers in Southeastern NC (which he also published a book about). Bruce was instrumental in protecting thousands of acres of land in the Wilmington region. After working with the Land Trust, Bruce spent the past few years of his life dividing his time between oystering along the coast and enjoying the outdoors in Western NC. Bruce purchased Stone Mountain Golf Club (in Traphill, NC) seven years ago and enjoyed spending time with friends on the course while he struggled to understand the definition of retirement. Bruce is survived by: his wife of 30 years, Pam Walker Watkins; daughter, Casey Watkins; son, Jud Watkins; his sisters Sally Watkins and Ann Watkins Kraft and his brother, Mark Watkins; also a nephew, Andrew Payne; and many loving aunts, cousins and in- laws. Bruce boldly requests that his friends remember him with fun stories (like the ones he told so brilliantly). The family will receive friends at the Watkins home Saturday from 4-6:30. A memorial service will be held at the Bradley Creek Lawn of Airlie Gardens at 2:30pm Sunday. The family will also briefly greet friends after the service. Kayakers and surfers will also be paddling out in Bruce's honor Saturday at 7a.m. near the Holiday Inn at Wrightsville Beach. There will be a memorial service at Stone Mountain at a date and time to be announced. In lieu of flowers, the family humbly requests donations to any of the following: The North Carolina Methodist Home for Children The Community Boys and Girls Club The Coastal Federation: Attention Oyster Restoration
The Guest Book is expired.
Published in the Wilmington Star-News from June 20 to June 22, 2013