John "Jack" K. WatkinsJune 17, 1929 ~ May 19, 2017 (age 87)
John “Jack” K. Watkins, affectionately known by his friends as “Digger”, passed away on May 19, 2017 at Mercy St. Anne Hospital at the age of 87. Jack was born on June 17, 1929 in Detroit, MI to Byron and Elsie Watkins. As a young boy, his family moved to Sylvania where he attended Maplewood Elementary and graduated from Burnham High in 1948. He was inducted into the Sylvania School Hall of Fame in 1997.
In 1949, Jack joined the Sylvania Township Volunteer Fire Department and was promoted to fire captain in 1961 and served in that capacity until 1971. He was one of the original members of the rescue scuba team and served with distinction on the rescue squad.
In 1953, Jack married Dorothy Kohlman of Oak Harbor, Ohio and together raised their daughter, Julie and son, John II. Jack and Dorothy vacationed annually to the Hiawatha Sportsman Club where they shared time with many family members over the years. They also spent time in St. Petersburg, FL. They loved watching their children and then their grandchildren play sports, traveling as far as South Dakota for a soccer tournament. Jack enjoyed fishing, hunting, golfing as a member of Highland Meadows and playing cards at the Elks. He was a car enthusiast and loved to attend shows and auctions but always had a special place in his heart for the Jeep. Jack enjoyed people, one liners and playing practical jokes with friends.
From 1951-1953, Jack served his country during the Korean War with the Army’s 2nd Reconnaissance Company of the 2nd Infantry division (Indian Head). He was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor and the Purple Heart. Jack was co-chairman for the War Memorial located in front of the Sylvania City building. In 2015, Jack served as Grand Marshall for the Sylvania Memorial Day Parade.
Jack attended the University of Toledo and graduated from the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science while working as a policeman for the Greenhill’s Police Department. After graduation in 1959, Jack worked at the Reeb Funeral Home as an embalmer, funeral director and ambulance driver where he had been employed since he was twelve years old doing yard work and other errands. He retired as partner in 2012 at the age of 82 but continued to help at the funeral home.
He was elected to Sylvania City Council in January 1962 and served through December 1969 and again from January 1978 until December 1979. In 1970, Jack was appointed the Director of Public Safety. Jack was a lifetime member of the Joseph W. Diehn American Legion Post, a longtime member of the Sylvania Chamber of Commerce, Sylvania Rotary and Elks lodge. He was a charter member of the Sylvania Moose Lodge, a member of the Zenobia Shrine Jeepster Unit and a longtime parishioner of Olivet Lutheran Church.
Jack is survived by his loving wife, Dorothy; daughter, Julie; son, John (Jan); grandsons, Joshua, Nathan and Troy; brothers, Robert (Jackie) and Lawrence; brother-in-law, Herman (Lois) Kohlman and many nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be at Reeb Funeral Home on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 from 3pm until 7pm and Wednesday, May 24, 2017 from 3pm until 7pm. The funeral service will be Thursday, May 25, 2017 at 11am at Olivet Lutheran Church with visitation one hour prior. Entombment will follow at Toledo Memorial Park. Contributions may be made to the donor’s choice.