Richard “Dick” Watkins

Richard “Dick” Watkins

Aug. 1929 ~ Jan. 2021

A dedicated husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather and his country, Papa Richard Charles (Dick) Watkins was all of these things and more.

Dick’s life began in Turlock on August 15, 1929. Dick attended both Turlock and Oakdale schools where he starred on the wrestling team.  Dick went on to graduate from Hilmar High School where he participated in track and football.

After High School Dick served in the US Military for 20 years.  During his military service, he served his first four years in the US Navy and the remainder of his active duty was served in the US Air Force. During Dick’s military career he had many accomplishments where he worked on some of the most important aircrafts used in the Korean War. While in the Air Force, he was also involved in launching the first satellite into orbit with NASA. Richard retired in 1970 as a Master Sergeant in the US Air Force.

After retiring from Air Force, Richard and his wife Velma, who he was married to for 61 years, settled into the Hilmar community. Throughout Dick’s adult life he was a faithful supporter of Hilmar High Athletics. He was well known in the community as a consistent fan at any given Hilmar High School athletic event. The community recognized Dick’s dedication by inducting him into the Hilmar High School Hall of Fame in which he was the inaugural inductee. Dick never met a stranger and loved helping people. Some of Dick’s hobbies included water skiing, camping, traveling and spending time with his family.

Dick is preceded in death by his wife Velma Faye Watkins. He is survived by his two daughters and their spouses Kelly and Kurt McKenzie and Christi and Rick Golden; his four grandchildren and their spouses, Danielle and Scotty Link, Courtney and Alex Michael, Brian and Amelia Golden, Kristin and Billy Davenport; and his three great grandchildren Rylee, Avery, and Carter Michael.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made in memory of Dick Watkins to Hilmar High School Athletics, 7807 Lander Ave, Hilmar CA 95324.

A graveside service with military honors will be held at Sunnyside Cemetery in Stevinson on Saturday, March 6, 2021 at 11:00a.m.

1 Comment

  • Lula Avills February 23, 2021 9:54 pm

    I knew Dick since high school. He loved to tell about the time after I found out he was going to join the Navy I sat on his lap on the school bus and sang ‘Whoa Sailor” to him. In the later years after they moved back to Hilmar Dick & Velma included me in their lunch dates. We shared memories from grade school thru all our life experiences. After Velma passed away he still took her sister and me to lunch. We talked endlessly about his time in the service and with NASA. After he went to live with his daughter in Modesto we talked often on the phone. The last time I talked to him he told me you know if I could still drive we would go have lunch. That was his favorite thing to do. He is sorely missed. Dick, you are back with the love of your life Velma. Rest in Peace Dick Til we meet again.

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