Kenneth C. Watkins
December 8, 1931- August 13, 2023
Ken was born December 8, 1931, in Woodbine, IA to Kenneth and Lucy Watkins. As a child he grew up on the family farm and developed a strong love for animals, especially his trusty dog, Mike and his favorite ride, Tony.
Ken attended country school as a little boy. In high school he played sports, was on the football team, and enjoyed Wood Working in Shop Class. During his school years he developed life-long friendships with George Kelley and Dick Guyett. He graduated from Woodbine High School in May, 1950.
After high school Ken wanted to farm, but Uncle Sam had other plans for him. Ken was drafted into the U.S. Army. After a stint at Fort Chaffee, AR, a train ride to San Francisco, CA, and a boat ride across the Pacific Ocean, Ken was stationed in Okinawa, Japan. The day the Korean War ended, 07/27/1953, was considered by Ken to be the luckiest day of his life as he was scheduled for a beach landing on the following day.
Ken returned to the states in time to be home for Christmas Eve, 1954.
Following his return home, Ken once again tried his hand at farming. But this time Mother Nature had other plans. After two years of being burnt out, Ken decided to move to Omaha and get a job.
Ken lived in a boarding house and worked for a while at packing houses and then at Vickers.
Ken met Theresa Hoffmann at a dance in Neola, IA, on New Years Eve, 1955. They were married in St. Patrick Catholic Church on October 6, 1956, making their home in the 36th and Y St. area of South Omaha. They started a family in 1957 with the arrival of daughter Jean, soon to be followed by Debbie and Steve.
In the spring of 1962, the family moved to Millard, NE, where Ken was now working at the new Western Electric plant, while Theresa was a homemaker. David was born in 1965.
Ken worked at Western Electric for 43 years, retiring in 1999. In retirement, Ken continued to enjoy making woodwork projects for his granddaughters, tending to his rose garden and peony bushes, and rooting on his beloved Green Bay Packers and Husker Football and Volleyball teams.
Ken enjoyed traveling with Theresa and their friends to Branson, MO, Las Vegas, NV, Phoenix, AZ, Frisco, CO, and taking a New England Fall Leaf Tour. Memorable destinations for family trips included: Hawaii, San Francisco, Napa Valley, Seattle, British Columbia, Cancun, Mexico, Jamaica, and Yellowstone National Park. After Theresa passed, Ken still enjoyed traveling with family to Glacier National Park in Montana, the Great Stampede in Calgary, Alberta Canada, and Estes Park, Colorado for an Elk watch.
Ken was preceded in death by his wife of 59 years, Theresa; parents, Kenneth, and Lucy Watkins; sister, Vivian; brother, Darrell; and daughter-in-law, Judy Watkins. He is survived by daughters, Jean Buras (Ron), Debra Budden (Gary); sons, Steven Watkins, and David Watkins, all of Omaha; grandchildren, Elizabeth Mallory (Connor), Duncan Watkins, Dominic Watkins, Lilian Watkins, Lucile Watkins; great-grandson, Michael Langdon.
VISITATION: Wednesday August 16, 2023, 5 to 7 p.m. followed by VIGIL SERVICE: 7 p.m., at the West Center Chapel. MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL: Thursday August 17, 2023, 11 a.m., St. John Vianney Catholic Church, 5801 Oak Hills Dr. INTERMENT: Mount Auburn Cemetery with Military Honors. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to St. John Vianney Catholic Church, the National Kidney Foundation and the American Diabetes Association. To view a live broadcast of the Service, please go to www.heafeyheafey.com and click the “Live Cast” button at the top of the home page.