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Obituary

DANIEL FREDERICK WATKINS (published on January 10, 2009)



DANIEL FREDERICK WATKINS On Wednesday, December 17, 2008, with dignity and courage, after a brief battle with cancer, Daniel Frederick Watkins passed away peacefully with family at his side at the Souris Health Centre. Dan is survived and sadly missed by his wife Myrna (Cavers); son Bradley; brother Stan (Betty); and sister Gwen Hoffman (Watkins); brothers-in-law, George (Fran) Cavers, Ed (Sandra) Cavers, Norman (Sherry) Cavers; and sister-in-law Dora Southam (Cavers); and numerous nephews and nieces. He was predeceased by his parents, Charles and Mabel Watkins (Neal); infant sons, Michael and Wesley; brothers-in-law, Bill Hoffman and Keith Southam. Dan was born in Clearwater, Manitoba, on January 16, 1939 and attended school there until 1955 when he went to work for his brother-in-law, Bill Hoffman. While working for Hoffman Construction, he travelled around the southern half of Manitoba helping build schools, hospitals, senior citizen complexes. He completed his third level of Carpentry with Red River Community College Apprenticeship program during this time. In 1966 he left Hoffman Construction, with his brother Stan and a friend, Russ Argue, formed Watkins and Argue, continuing with building construction in the Clearwater and surrounding area. In 1974, Dan moved his family to Killarney where he continued in construction work until 1977 when they moved to Souris to work with his brother-in-law Norman. With his years of experience, Red River Community College certified him as a Carpenter which allowed him to mentor several young men, including his son, in the apprenticeship program. Although a Carpenter by trade, he developed his knowledge and skills in all the building trades with a special interest in bricklaying, stuccoing, concrete. He took great delight in passing his knowledge on to others. During these years Dan made many friends throughout the province. Dan and Myrna met in December, 1960 which was the beginning of a very close relationship. They were married August 11, 1962. They shared all of their experiences and supported each other in everything that they faced throughout their lives together, joys or sorrows. In 1969 Dan and Myrna began studying the Bible with Jehovah's Witnesses and were baptized in 1970. In 1983 he started volunteering his expertise on Kingdom Hall builds. On a few weekends each summer during the next several years, he travelled from Alberta to Ontario working with the brick laying crew. He made many lasting friendships during those trips. He had a very strong conviction in the Bible's promise for a better life in a paradise on earth and this carried him through his illness. As Jesus directed in Matthew 28:19-20, Dan shared his faith in God's promises with the many people he encountered in his door to door ministry and his daily activities. Right up to his last day he took an interest in everyone around him. Dan was an avid outdoorsman and his favourite time of year was spring with the beginning of the fishing season. He loved Jehovah God's creation and spent as much time as he could along the rivers and lakes in Manitoba trying to catch a mess of fish . In the fall, although very busy with his work, he would try to get out for a few duck hunts and always spend at least two weeks with family and friends searching for The Big Buck . Again, although hunting, he had great respect for Jehovah's creation. Dan and Myrna spent time every summer walking the Lauder Sand Hills picking wild flowers, the various fruits in season and observing the animal life. Another passion was travelling and many summers the family would take a camping trip somewhere in the western provinces or northern United States usually attending one of the District Conventions of Jehovah's Witnesses along the way. The last few winters, Dan and Myrna have gone to Florida for a couple of weeks, always taking a different route on the way down and back to explore a new area in the U.S. Dan lived a very full life and his family and friends will miss him as they continue in all the activities he enjoyed. The family would like to thank Dr. H. Unruh, Dr. Tan and all the doctors in the Health Sciences Centre SICU for their kindness and caring during the time of his operation and the weeks following. Also a huge thank-you to the nursing staff in the SICU, Step-down on GH-3 and on GH-6 for all your kindnesses to Dan and his family during his two stays in Health Sciences. Also thank-you to the Home Team , Dr. Stone and Dr. Cram and the nurses and staff at Souris Health Centre for your care and support throughout the entire time of his illness. We appreciate and thank Dexter Kowalchuk for the kind, professional manner in which he handled the funeral arrangements. Funeral Service was held in the Souris Community Hall on December 22, 2008 at 2:00 p.m. Roy Wicks, an Elder of Jehovah's Witnesses, officiated. Pallbearers were his nephews and nieces, Andrew Watkins, Leigh Watkins, Anne Cavers, Julie Cavers, Amanda Cavers and Nina Cavers. Attendants were Brian Apperley and Peter Smith. Interment will take place in the spring at Clearwater, MB. In memory of Dan, donations may be made to the Souris Hospital Palliative Care Fund in care of A.R.H.A., Box 10, Souris, Manitoba, R0K 2C0. Kowalchuk's Funeral Home, Souris, in care of arrangements.


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