October 5, 1931 - March 11, 2018 Born in Delaware Resided in Fremont, California
With her family around her, Joan Marie Watkins died at home in the early hours of Sunday March 11, 2018 after a valiantly fought battle with COPD and heart disease. In her final hours, she was comforted by her daughter, Joan Watkins; her son, Francis Watkins; his wife Shirley Watkins; three grandchildren, Dylan, Angie, and Lita; her nephew Bill Watson; and Bill’s son, David Watson. Also with her was her best friend and caretaker for the past 2 years, Sabiha Syed. She laughingly referred to Sabiha as her back door daughter.
Anyone who knew Joan, knew her to be a fun character, who loved life and her family deeply. She loved parties often telling waiters that it was her birthday all year long to get some cake and a song.
She was a strong soul who knew herself. She never cared what others thought. Have fun in life and be true to yourself was her motto.
Joan was born on Oct 5, 1931 in Wilmington, Delaware. She fell in love and married Francis Watkins in 1950. Their daughter Joan arrived in 1951 and her son Francis arrived in 1956. Yes, there were now two Joan’s and two Francis’ in the family! The family continued to reside in Delaware for the next 12 years. A cottage was purchased on the Delaware Bay in Prime Hook Beach. The family, along with grandparents and other extended family members, spent many summers and weekends at the beach house. Fishing, waterskiing, building bonfires, and searching the tide pools and sand dunes for treasures were favorite beach activities.
In 1964, Francis received a promotion and an opportunity to transfer to Fremont, CA to work in the new General Motors facility. The family packed up and headed out west. The kids had to now make new friends in a new town. No problem for Joan as she opened her home and her arms to invite her children’s friends to come spend the day, play, eat, and have parties. She loved to tease everyone and have them tease her back. She was inclusive of not just the immediate family but extended family and friends on all holidays, especially at Christmas where she served her famous beer meatballs.
Joan loved to do crafts and give gifts. Those who know her have many mementos of beautiful painted eggs, birdhouses, pillowcases, Christmas figurines, flower pens, and many other items that she crafted and gifted.
Joan is survived by her daughter, Joan Watkins; her son, Francis Watkins, his wife Shirley; and her beloved grandchildren Dylan, Angie and Lita.
The Family would like to give special thanks to Sabiha Syed for the excellent care, kindness, compassion, and love that she extended to Joan over the past two years.
Joan loved good food. She did not spend money on fancy clothes or jewelry. However, when it came to a good meal, she was there! With this in mind the family is asking, in lieu of flowers, you donate to:
Sister John Marie's Pantry
A ministry of St. Joseph Church in Fremont, Sister John Marie's Pantry responds to the needs of people living in the Tri-City area (Fremont, Newark, Union City). These include Tri-City homeless; frail elderly people; single parents; senior citizens; and transients. The pantry offers assistance in times of tragedy or emergency, rent and bill payments; provides supplies for ADOBE Homeless Shelter.
Need: Financial donations.
Where: Sister John Marie's Pantry, St. Joseph Church, PO Box 3276, Fremont 94539
Alameda County Community Foodbank