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Shirley   Clyde  Watkins, Jr.
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Obituary for Shirley Clyde Watkins, Jr.

Clyde Watkins, Jr.

Lakeland - On Saturday June 2, 2018, Clyde Watkins, a lifelong backpacker, runner, canoeist, kayaker, and cyclist, quit pedaling and coasted on to the hereafter. He passed peacefully with his family by his side at Florida Presbyterian Homes where he had resided since 2004.
Shirley Clyde Watkins, Jr. was born in Alton, Illinois on March 6, 1927 to Shirley Clyde Watkins, Sr. and Eva Joyner Smith. He was the third of four children. He was preceded in death by both his parents, by an infant daughter, by his brother, Bill Watkins, and sister, Eleanor Lewis, and in 2006 by his wife of 53 years, Nora Lea Hulme Watkins. Clyde and Nora Lea moved to Florida Presbyterian Homes in Lakeland, Florida 16 years ago where they found a community that embraced and loved them. After Nora Lea’s death, Clyde found love again and married Myrtle Hurlburt in 2010, sharing life until her death in 2015.
Clyde is survived by his three children, Wayne, Steve, and Jo; by their spouses, Helen, Janet, and Mike; by his grandchildren, Ajax, Erin, Jubilee, John, Maggie, Eva, Claire, and Lili; by his great-grandchildren, Alima, Zakariya, Dylan, Tristan, Otis, and Bobby; and by his great-great grandchild, Willow. He is also survived by his sister, Patricia Schools; by his sisters-in-law, Barbara Hulme, Susan Cissel, Pat Hulme; and by numerous nieces and nephews who cherish his memory and influence in their lives.
Clyde graduated from Windsor High School in Windsor, Virginia in 1944. He briefly attended Virginia Military Institute before serving in the Army in 1945 and 1946. He returned to VMI after the war, decided he didn’t want to play soldier after being a real one, and transferred first to North Carolina State University and then to Virginia Tech, where he graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering. He remained a devoted Hokie fan all his life and did his level best to keep the old 1940s Hokie cheers alive through the ensuing decades. (“Hokie, Hokie, Hokie Hi, we’re the men of VPI!”) Clyde was also a Certified Professional Engineer and Certified Land Surveyor, having worked many years in the mining industry in land reclamations. His professional life included employment with American Cyanamid, Occidental Petroleum, Texas Gulf Sulphur, IMC, and Morrison-Knudsen. During his years in San Antonio, Texas, Clyde also developed a fanatical devotion to the San Antonio Spurs. His great-grandson Dylan now proudly wears Clyde’s prize pink Spurs NBA championship hat.
Clyde was an active member for the past 65 years in the United Methodist Church, most recently at First United Methodist Church of Lakeland where he was active in the BYKOTA Sunday School class, served as church usher, and collected canned goods for VISTE. Clyde used many a hammer and nail building houses for Habitat for Humanity and for United Methodist Committee on Relief projects around the country. But most especially, Clyde was a devoted and generous volunteer and donor for Noah’s Ark of Central Florida, spending countless hours, days, weeks, months, and years helping build and sustain this special community. As if that wasn’t enough, Clyde also delivered Meals on Wheels, served as a hospital auxiliary volunteer in Virginia and Florida, donated blood nearly every month of his adult life, designed and built a number of playgrounds for low-income child care centers for which his wife Nora Lea served as director, and picked up newspapers thrown into his neighbors' front yards during his early morning walks and placed them on their doorsteps.
Funeral services with be Saturday, June 23, 2018 at 11 am in the Sanctuary at First United Methodist Church, 72 Lake Morton Dr, Lakeland, FL. A visitation with be held Friday, June 22, 2018 from 5 - 7 p.m. in the Tribute Center at Heath Funeral Chapel, 328 S. Ingraham Avenue, Lakeland, FL.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to First United Methodist Church, Children’s Clothes Closet, 72 Lake Morton Dr., Lakeland, FL 33801 or to Noah’s Ark of Central Florida, 500 Inspiration Dr., Lakeland, FL 33805


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Upcoming Events

Visitation

Friday

22

Jun

5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Heath Funeral Chapel - Tribute Center

328 S Ingraham Ave
Lakeland, FL 33801

Service

Saturday

23

Jun

11:00 AM
First United Methodist Church Chapel

72 Lake Morton Drive
Lakeland, Florida 33801

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