James E. Watkins, a retired dairy company foreman who was a longtime deacon at New Psalmist Baptist Church, died Nov. 4 from complications of diabetes at his home in West Baltimore’s Penn North neighborhood. He was 85.
James Edgar Watkins, the son of Major Watkins, and his wife, Lucy Watkins, farmers, was born and raised in Rawlings, Virginia. After the death of his mother, he moved to Baltimore in 1942, where he graduated from city public schools.
Mr. Watkins was a foreman at the Cloverland Dairy plant on Loch Raven Road for 30 years before retiring in 1999.
Mr. Watkins, who enjoyed reading and studying the Bible, had been an active member of the New Psalmist Baptist Church since the 1940s, and was also a deacon.
He was a boxing fan and liked to fish and travel, family members said.
Funeral services for Mr. Watkins will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at his church, 6020 Marian Drive, Baltimore.
He is survived by his wife of 40 years, the former Eleanor Jean Smith, a homemaker; a daughter, Donita Watkins of Baltimore; a brother, Major Watkins Jr. of Baltimore; two sisters, Caroline Youngblood of Baltimore and Josephine Chambers of Rawlings, Virginia; 21 grandchildren; 50 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by three daughters, Gelora Watkins, Valerie Brown and Melinda Livingston.