Samuel I. Watkins, 77, of rural South Whitley died at 11:43 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010 at Parkview Hospital, Fort Wayne where he was transported earlier in the evening.
He was born Feb. 6, 1933 in Breathitt County, Vancleve, Ky. a son of Ballard and Lida (Smith) Watkins. He completed his education in the Perry County Schools.
A United States Army Veteran, he served in Europe during the Korean War. He was honorably discharged Aug. 31, 1961.
On Jan. 29, 1957 he was united in marriage to Helen Clemons. They made their home in Perry County, Ky. until January 1966 when they moved to Richland Township, Whitley County.
He was a coal miner until moving to Indiana in 1966 when he began his employment at Arnolt Corp. in Pierceton until 1972 when he began working at L.M.L. in Columbia City until his retirement in 1983.
He was a member of Free United Baptist Church near Pierceton.
Surviving relatives include his wife of nearly 54 years, Helen; eight sons, Glen (Mary) Watkins of Allentown, Pa., Mack Allen (Shirley) Pratt of Pierceton, Kenneth Ray Pratt of South Whitley, Benjamin James (Sandra) Pratt of Austin, George Ballard Watkins of Kendallville, Samuel David Watkins of Columbia City, Robert G. (Lisa) Watkins of South Whitley and Gilbert D. Watkins of South Whitley; two daughters, Barbara J. Baker of South Whitley and Lida Kay (Richard) Rebman of Larwill; 32 grandchildren; 47 great-grandchildren; and seven great-great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by a daughter, Josephine Brooks and two brothers, Willard Watkins and Clay Watkins.
The funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at Smith & Sons Funeral Home, Miller Chapel, South Whitley. The burial will be in Booneville Cemetery. The visitation will be from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at the funeral home.
Preferred memorials may be made to Free United Baptist Church.
Condolences may be sent to www.smithandsonsfuneralhome.com .