Obituary of Calvin Watkins, Sr.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
On Wednesday, September 6, 2017, after an extended illness, it was the will of our Heavenly Father to call to eternal rest Calvin Earl Watkins, Sr.
Calvin was the second child born to Ernest Earl and Eunice Newby Watkins on December 6, 1931, in Edgemere, Maryland. Calvin was educated in the small community and graduated from Sollers Point High School in Turner Station. During his teenage years Calvin study music privately and became proficient enough in the tenor saxophone and clarinet to join the union of musicians. He play professionally in the music teacher’s tea band and the youth dance band, Hicks Rhythmeers.
Graduating from high school, Calvin attended Hampton Institute (now Hampton University and received a BS degree in Architectural Engineering. His early music experience afforded him the opportunity to excel at Hampton in the orchestra, marching and dance bands. Calvin also pledged and became a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. Upon graduation from Hampton, Calvin was commissioned into the United States Army Corps of Engineers as a First Lieutenant. Once he completed his tour of duty in Japan, Calvin moved onto the Army reserves, earning the rank of Captain.
Calvin spent most of his working career in the federal government in New York City, Kansas City, Missouri, and in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania respectively. Some of his greatest achievements in his profession were becoming a Registered Architect, and attaining the prominent position of Regional Director of Facilities Management in the latter two locations. He retired after 30 years of federal service, and with the encouragement of his wife, sought and assumed employment with the state of New Jersey as the Group Manager for the Department of Treasury, Division of Building and Construction.
Calvin accepted Christ at an early age at Shiloh Baptist Church in Edgemere, Maryland. When he moved to NY, he and his wife joined Amity Baptist Church, Queens where he was involved with Boy Scouts of America, and in Missouri Calvin made his church home Paseo Baptist Church in Kanas City. The family joined Second Baptist Church after relocating to NJ in 1970. Calvin was a dedicated member of the Trustee Board for more than 20 years serving on the Building Committee. He assisted in decisions regarding church maintenance, building improvements and the building of the Rev. Dr. Dennis E. Norris Christian Education Annex.
Calvin was an industrious person with a constant need for a project and the tenacity to get the job done. He loved learning and over the years he explored and excelled in several hobbies including photography, woodworking, plant care and macramé. Some of his singular projects included finishing the basement and completing a closed-in porch of his home in New York, and the gutting and rehabbing of an abandoned house purchased in Maryland. Family members possess items Calvin crafted and presented to them as gifts.
A deliberate and guiding spirit, Calvin was a force for preparation and excellence in his approach and response to life, and he was ever willing to share his knowledge and experience. We will miss his keen eye for design and his hands of creation and renovation. He was a great husband and father, who conveyed a firm demeanor solidly blended with a loving heart.
Calvin was preceded in death by his son, Calvin Earl Watkins, Jr.
Fond memories of his life will be cherished by his high school sweetheart and wife of 64 years, Bertina Watkins; daughter, Sarita Brewer (John) of Mitchellville, MD; his daughter-in-law, Jeanette Waters; grandchildren Alissa J. Leon (Andres), Douglass Earl Watkins, Aaron M. Brewer (Lorin), Lauren E. Brewer, and Niambi S. Brewer; sister-in-law, Martha Watkins; nephew Anthony Watkins (Lisa); brother-in-law James Hockaday (Ruby); and a host of nieces, nephews, family and friends.