Atmore loses longtime council member
Published 12:06 am Monday, January 14, 2008
By By Adam Prestridge
There will be a vacant seat Monday afternoon at the Atmore City Council meeting following the death of councilman John Watkins Jr.
A black bow will be placed in the chair that he has filled for the last 16 years.
Watkins, 79, who served as mayor pro-tem under Mayor Howard Shell, had been battling numerous illnesses, including cancer, for the past several years. He passed away around 6:25 p.m. Thursday evening at Atmore Community Hospital following a bout with pneumonia. His wife of 55 years, Veola, was at his bedside.
Shell, who first met Watkins while working for Monsanto Corporation in the late 1950s, said he not only lost a colleague, but a dear friend.
Watkins was a World War II veteran, serving in the United States Army on the Marianas Islands in Guam and assisted with the loading and unloading of ships. He retired from Monsanto after 31 years where he served as a cook, a cafeteria foreman and a main plant foreman. He was elected to the Atmore Council in 1992 and was named mayor pro-tem in 1996. He served the residents of District 3.
Funeral services are tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday evening at Gaines Chapel AME Church. A graveside service will would be held Thursday morning at 10 a.m.