Howard N. Watkins Jr., 78, of Kenton, passed away peacefully at 6:30 p.m. Friday, March 7, 2014, at home with his family by his side. He was born in Hardin County on Jan. 30, 1936, a son of the late Howard N. Sr. and Frances Johnson Watkins.
On April 26, 1959, he married Ruth Ramsey, with whom he would have celebrated 55 years of marriage next month.
Howard loved his family very much and enjoyed the role of husband, dad, grandpa, and brother. His surviving family to carry on his legacy are his wife, Ruth Watkins of Kenton; sons, Brian Watkins of Dublin, and Mark (Marsha) Watkins of Kenton; daughter, Alison (Sean) Gill of Worthington; grandchildren, Trent (Lacey) Watkins, Meredith Watkins, Graham Watkins, Claire Watkins, Olivia Watkins, Audrey Watkins and Harrison Gill; and his sister, Eleanor (Wayne) Keur of Jenison, Mich.
He was preceded in death by a brother, Robert Watkins.
Howard was a 1954 graduate of Kenton Senior High School and a graduate of The Ohio State University in 1958 with a bachelor’s degree in animal science. He enlisted in the Army ROTC and later served in active duty and was a United States Army veteran.
A lifelong farmer in Hardin County, he was very active in many Hardin County organizations and devoted his time and talents in many different directions. Howard was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Kenton, the Alpha Gamma Sigma Fraternity at OSU, the Kenton Lion’s Club, Kenton Latham Masonic Lodge 163, Hardin County Shrine Club, Kenton Elks Lodge 157, the Republican Colonels Club, was chairman of the OSU-Lima Board of Trustees, was a former Hardin County Commissioner and Hardin County Pleasant Township Trustee, was a longtime Hardin County 4-H adviser and currently was the secretary of C.I.C.
He also served as treasurer of the Hardin County Golf Foundation, was a member of the Kenton City School Board for 12 years, a former bank board member of the Kenton National, Bank One, and most recently the Home Savings and Loan Co., and served on the Farmers Mutual Insurance Board.
Early in life, he served as a state FFA officer, was president of Ohio Young Farmers, and was an International Farm Youth Exchange Delegate to New Zealand.
Howard was awarded the Hardin County citizen of the year and elected into the Hardin County Agriculture Hall of Fame.
As reflected in his many memberships, board positions, commitments and awards, it is clear that Howard had a passion for being with people and time spent with others. He also carried a deep passion for The Ohio State University as an institution and all that it stood for and represented.
In his free time, which he made room for on occasion, you would find Howard on the golf course as he was an avid golfer.
The Rev. Loran Miracle leads a celebration of life at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the First United Methodist Church, Kenton. Burial is in Grove Cemetery, Kenton. Visitation is from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Schindewolf Stout Crates Funeral Home, Kenton, and an hour prior to the service Wednesday.
The family has requested that memorial donations be made to the First United Methodist Church in Kenton, the Hardin County Golf Foundation, and/or the Lima O.S.U. Student Scholarship Fund.
Express condolences at stoutcrates.com.