American Veteran 04

Donald E. Watkins

October 1, 1940 ~ September 23, 2023 (age 82) 82 Years Old
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Donald Watkins Obituary

Captain Donald E. Watkins, USN (Ret), passed away on September 23, 2023, just shy of his 83rd birthday.  Surrounded by family, he succumbed to the complications of Parkinson’s disease.

Don was born in East Los Angeles, on October 1, 1940, to Edward and Eunice Watkins. He graduated from Montebello High School in 1958 where he was on two championship football teams and was active in student government.  In 2014, he was inducted into the Montebello High School Hall of Fame.

Upon his graduation from the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland in 1962 he was selected for ADM Rickover’s Submarine Nuclear Power School program.  After completion of training, he reported to JAMES MONROE (SSBN-622), followed by SNOOK (SSN 592) for an overhaul and a WESTPAC.  He subsequently attended the Naval Post Graduate School where he obtained an MS in Financial Management in 1970.  He then served on HENRY CLAY (SSBN 625) as Navigator and afterwards returned to JAMES MONROE as Executive Officer.  He was then assigned to ULYSSES S. GRANT (SSBN-631) as Gold Crew Prospective Commanding Officer, assuming command in 1979.

Captain Watkins’ post command tours included Director of Submarine Security for the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Submarine Warfare.  Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations and Strategic Plans, Submarine Group FIVE; Senior Submarine Inspector for the Pacific Board of Inspection and Survey and finally Comptroller at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo.

His awards included the Meritorious Service Medal with three gold stars, and the Navy Commendation medal with gold star.

After active-duty life he served in nuclear waste disposal at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant for the U.S. Department of Energy, in Carlsbad, New Mexico; and for SAIC and Bechtel at the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository.

In retirement he was active playing tennis, traveling every continent and enjoying family activities as a devoted grandfather.  He served many years with the RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol for Diamond Gateway), Treasurer for his HOA, and was a faithful member of Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church Choir, as well as the Savvy Travelers Board.   Don is survived by his high school sweetheart and wife of 61 years, Sharon and his three children, Michael, Laurie Ann, and Gregory, plus six grandchildren Justin, Caitlin, Kayvon, Lucas, Abigail, and Layla.

Celebration of life will be held at 10:30 November 17th, 2023, at Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church followed by honors and internment at Miramar National Cemetery, California at 2:00.


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