Funeral services will be held on Monday July 24, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. in the Billings Funeral Home Chapel in Woodward, Oklahoma. Burial will be at Union Cemetery near Quinlan, Oklahoma overlooking land Bonnie once helped Forrest care for and among many friends and family who passed before her.
Bonnie was born on April 18, 1930 in Woodward, Oklahoma as the only child to Arden and Ruby Taylor.
Bonnie spent many of her earliest years at the Woodward hospital where her mother worked and where Bonnie was the staff favorite racing wheel chairs and getting into mischief throughout the hospital.
Bonnie attended school in Woodward and sometimes spent time with her Grandma Lehman and the house full of rowdy uncles. But there was one day when Bonnie had a babysitting job. She was sitting out in the yard watching the children when a car with 2 handsome soldiers who had just returned from the European war drove by and waved. She waved back. The soldiers stopped the car and a soldier named Forrest asked if Bonnie wanted to go to the movie that night. Bonnie said yes. That night at the movie Forrest asked if Bonnie would like to be a farmer’s wife. She answered yes again and they married shortly after. I wonder if they ever imagined that their marriage would last 68 years?
Bonnie became a very efficient, hard-working farmer’s wife who could whip up a meal with nothing but 2 cups of flour, some potatoes, beans and a pound of bacon. This was after spending a dusty day in the field helping shock feed or spending a long, cold night sitting up with a sick calf warming by the kitchen stove.
Bonnie always had a large garden with green onions and tomatoes as the centerpiece and bell peppers and radishes for garnish. The bugs were kept at bay by her flock of laying hens. There were frequently a dozen or so wild turkeys she fed on a daily basis and woe be to the poor soul that took a shot at one of them. You could bet that misguided hunter missed out on a good meal that evening.
Bonnie always had a big heart and a love for people. Those who stopped by were often welcomed with a cup of coffee and a sticky bun or offered some of her garden’s abundance.
One of Bonnie’s projects was a piglet she adopted in the middle of winter. Porky stayed in a box by the stove (usually beside an orphan calf) and only went outside when Bonnie went out to feed the chickens. When spring came Forrest ordered the livestock outside. But Porky wasn’t neglected outside because Bonnie built him a house. And she made regular trips to the day old bread store to buy Porky’s favorites- honey buns and peppermint sticks. Porky would hide the treats in his straw bed to eat at his leisure. I don’t know how old that pig was when it went to “Hog Heaven,” but he weighed somewhere north of 1000 pounds!
Forrest drove a Quinlan school bus for many of years until he became too busy with cattle and farming. Then Bonnie started driving the bus to insure her kids had a ride to school. The roads were pretty dicey in the winter and most people wouldn’t even think of coming all the way down to the Watkins’ house. Many times the bus would become mired in clay or bottomless sand but Bonnie would just grab another gear and keep going. Every day was another adventure.
Bonnie Mae Watkins finished her days July 19, 2017 in Marlow, Oklahoma.
Left to remember Bonnie are her children, Linda Easter and husband, Eddie of Piedmont, Oklahoma; Larry Watkins of Mooreland, Oklahoma; and Lois Brake and her husband Gerald of Rush Springs, Oklahoma, also her grandchildren, Brian Easter, Susan Easter Bosch, Jennifer Watkins, Zackary Brake and Lori Brake and Bonnie’s nine grandchildren.
Bonnie was preceded in death by her husband, Forrest; her father Arden Taylor and her mother Ruby Lehman Taylor Metz.
Thoughts from Susan (Bosch) Easter, Linda Watkins Easter’s daughter
Having lived through the Great Depression, my grandma was one tough cookie. A baker, a cook, a seamstress and an avid gardener, Bonnie Watkins faced a multitude of tasks in her 87 years.
As a young child, I loved doll babies. As the granddaughter of my grandma, I imagined my dolls needed a quilt like the crazy quilts she had made, so Grandma made me one. I still have it tucked away in my closet.
I used to brag to my friends about the size of my grandma’s garden, one so big she needed a tractor to till the ground in preparation for spring planting. Of course, everything was started from seed; starting with plants would not have been frugal. I remember walking the rows of that garden in the hot, dry summers of Northwest Oklahoma, sand blowing in my eyes when a breeze stirred the air.
Of course, Grandma kept chickens and mothered the stray calf as needed, but her pride and joy seemed to be “Porky,” her once tiny and eventually giant sow that amazed me with its mass and girth.
When I was about 10 or so, I stayed a couple of nights with Grandma and Grandpa, sleeping in the room that had once been my mom’s. Grandma bought me Cookie Crisp cereal to eat for breakfast and kept pudding in the big closet in the dark, cool hallway off the seemingly always warm kitchen.
Grandma kept watch over the drive and the table, the trusty wall phone with the dial that circled back and forth just steps away from her chair at the head of the dining table. “Daddy!!” she would holler as she called for him, he in the barn trying to get the wheat truck running, and she waiting in the doorway with dinner on the table. “It’s getting cold,” she’d say as Grandpa marched in to wash for supper. He called her “Mama,” from my first memory of them having names for each other. But, truly, my grandma was a mother from an early age, having her first daughter at age 18. Linda was followed by Larry then Lois. Grandma sometimes called my mom “Windy Lindy,” apparently thinking she talked a lot. But my mama came by that naturally, as Grandma loved to talk, tell stories, and chat about all things going on in her world.