Roberta I. "Bobbie" Watkins
October 29, 1922 - June 28, 2017
Roberta Isabel Watkins, 94, of Hillsdale, passed away June 28, 2017 at her home surrounded by her devoted family. Roberta, (Bobbie) was born October 29, 1922 in Edon, Ohio, to Capitola (Gibbs) Moore and Perry Daniel Moore whose lineage can be traced back to the Mayflower. She was married to Donald Eldon Watkins on July 31, 1948 in Osseo, Michigan.
Bobbie graduated from Hillsdale High School and Cleary Business College and went on to work for the law firms of Chase and Walworth and Albert Dimmers. An adventurous spirit, Bobbie was the first woman in Hillsdale County to receive a private pilots license.
After her marriage to Don, she helped grow the family business by dispatching trucks from their home for Watkins Oil and Watkins Transport Companies. Bobbie's energy was endless and she worked tirelessly for school and community causes.
To purchase new band uniforms and send the Hillsdale High School Band to Europe, she produced the legendary "Mess Hillsdale Pageant", a beauty pageant whose contestants were local businessMEN. Ballerina Parke Hayes was the winner! Bobby also directed several "Variety Nights" to raise money for cancer research, scouring the county for local talent. In 1975, she co-chaired with Robert Navarre for Hillsdale Community Hospital's "Project Survival". She was also a founding member of the ladies hospital auxiliary.
Bobbie was a lover of the arts and was on board with a small theatrical company which produced its first show at Hillsdale County Fairgrounds and evolved into the soccer Sauk Theatre in 1965 which performed under a tent in the Arboretum. She sewed costumes, gathered props, and even hauled in two semi-trailers for use as dressing rooms. (Don helped with that of course.) Also at the college, she was patroness of the SAI music sorority and on the Board of Women Commissioners.
Surviving Bobbie are four children, Marcia (Tim) Kazurinsky of Chicago, Sandra Watkins-Riley of Chicago, David Watkins of Hillsdale, and Daniel (Maribeth) Watkins of Hillsdale; 8 grandchildren, Zoe and Pete Kazurinsky, Will Riley, Evan and Annie Watkins, Josh and Nathan Shull, and Callie (Watkins) Williams; and nieces and nephews, Robert Frantz, Leon Booher, Jackie Wohl, Wilma Booth, Richard Booher, Ruthie Maher, Laura (Watkins) Copp, Ellie (Watkins) Kaput, and Robin (Watkins) MacAvoy.
Bobbie's husband, Donald Watkins, preceded her in death in 1981. She was also preceded by three sisters, Dora Frantz, Charlotte Farquharson, and Carolyn Booher.
Funeral services for Roberta Watkins will be held Thursday, July 6, 2017 at 1:00 PM at the Van Horn-Eagle Funeral Home in Hillsdale, Michigan with Father Duane Beauchamp officiating. Interment will follow at Lakeview Cemetery in Hillsdale. The family will receive friends for visitation on Wednesday, July 5, 2017, from 6-8 PM at the funeral home.
Memorials are suggested to the Donald Watkins Memorial Scholarship Fund at Hillsdale College or the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.