Dr. John Crook Watkins died Aug. 9, 2010, in Corvallis, Ore., at Good Samaritan Hospital after a sudden, short illness. He was born on Dec. 16, 1943, in Tyler, resided in Lindale and Tyler for most of his life and recently moved to Corvallis, Ore., to be near his two daughters. He was the son of Arline Crook Guild and John Chapin Watkins and, later, Frank Guild Jr. He married Linda Griffin Watkins of Tyler on July 16, 1964, at First Presbyterian Church in Tyler. They proudly celebrated their 46th anniversary a few weeks ago.
John Watkins graduated from Baylor College of Dentistry in 1968. He practiced dentistry in Lindale between 1970 and 2009. He achieved high standing in his profession and took pride in his development and continuing education, building a large practice and earning a fellowship, a master's and the highest honor of diplomate from the American Academy of Implant Dentistry. He was recognized as one of the outstanding dentists of Texas repeatedly by his peers, and as his career advanced he became a mentor to many of his colleagues. John viewed dentistry as both a profession and as a service to the wider community. He was well-known as someone who used his skills to generously help hundreds of people in Smith County, across Texas and abroad. More than simply a profession, John felt that dentistry was a strong emotional bond between himself and his patients. Dentistry was his chosen life's path to service, which became a model for his friends and his children.
John enjoyed gardening and landscaping, home improvement projects at his homes in East Texas and Corvallis, boating and fishing along the Texas Intracoastal Canal, traveling with his family across the U.S. in their RV, and making objects of beauty in precious metals for his family and friends. Some of his most important moments involved sharing meals, holidays, celebrations and music with his family. For most of his life, John was closely connected to First Presbyterian Church in Tyler.
He is survived by his wife, Linda Griffin Watkins of Corvallis; his mother-in-law, Betty Dease of Tyler; his daughter, Kerry Watkins and her husband John Holley Matthews of Corvallis; and his daughter, Candice Watkins and her husband Chris Fox and their son Jackson Fox, of Astoria, Ore. John was anticipating his new grandson, Abebo John Matthews.
John loved his brief time living in Oregon and was looking forward to spending time in his yard and around his home with Linda and their dogs Zeus and Bingo, fishing with his sons-in-law, getting better at golf and enjoying as much time as he could with his grandsons, Jackson and Abebo.
A memorial service will be held at First Presbyterian Church of Tyler on Monday, Aug. 16, 2010. The service will begin at 10 a.m., followed by a reception at the church. The burial will take place at 1 p.m. on the same day in Lindale Cemetery with arrangements handled by Caudle-Rutledge Funeral Home. Officiating clergy will be the Rev. Tom Loden. Memorial donations to one of John's favorite charities, Children's Village of Texas (childrensvillageoftexas.org) are most welcome.
Published in Tyler Morning Telegraph on August 12, 2010