Eugene T. Watkins was born August 18, 1936, in Manning, Arkansas, the youngest child to bless the lives of Willie and Algerine Watkins. In his 86th season of life and surrounded by his family, Eugene departed this mortal existence and entered into the holy presence of the Lord on the evening of Wednesday, December 21, 2022, at CHI St. Vincent Hospital.
Eugene accepted Christ at an early age and became a member of Harmony Baptist Church in Sparkman. Upon relocating to Rockford, Illinois, he united with Providence Baptist Church where he dutifully served as an usher. In his later years, he returned to Arkadelphia and became a faithful member of Greater Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church. On October 15, 2017, Eugene was honored by the Laymen Ministry with a special Recognition of Devoted Stewardship, and the plaque still remains reverently displayed in his living room.
Throughout his life, Eugene never shied away from hard work starting as a young man opening a successful café in his hometown of Manning. After moving to Illinois, Eugene worked at Rockford Products where he would eventually retire after 30 years. Never one to be unproductive or idle, upon his retirement Eugene decided to re-enter the workforce taking a job with Kroger Grocery where he remained until returning to Arkansas.
A passionate and resolute man, never doing anything arbitrarily or random Eugene was without question a force to be reckoned with, and his zest for life shone brightly in everything he did. He loved God, his family, his Pastor, his Chicago Bulls, and of course his Chicago Bears. Throughout his life, he was devoted to wellness and fitness often encouraging friends and family to adopt healthier lifestyles and until he lost the ability to do so he could be found daily in the local gym. Eugene was an accomplished bowler and member of the aptly named “Cool Cats” bowling team, he proudly showcased his various trophies and loved to recall his days in the lanes.
He was proceeded in death by his parents; two sisters, Irene Willis and Willie B. Watkins; two brothers, Theodis Watkins and Houston Watkins. Those left to forever cherish his memory include daughter, Mecletus Watkins of Malvern; sister, Delores Flowers of Arkadelphia; nieces, nephews, cousins, several great-nieces and great-nephews, a great-granddaughter, extended family, and friends.
Funeral services are under the direction of Mitchell Funeral Home of Arkadelphia. Public visitation was Wednesday, December 28, at the funeral home. The funeral was held Thursday, December 29, at Greater Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Arkadelphia where Dr. Lewis A. Shepherd Jr. is pastor and eulogist. The burial and final resting place will be at Henderson Cemetery in Princeton.