Conesus: September 24, 2013 at home at age 81 years. Survived by his wife Maureen Murphy Watkins of Conesus, children; Jeanne (Michael) Gridley of Sparta, Mark Watkins of Atlanta, GA, and Jerry (Desiree) Watkins of Conesus. Grandchildren; Matthew & Douglas Gridley, Hannah, Adrielle, and Leah Watkins, nieces & nephews and many friends. Tom served his country in the US Navy during the Korean War.
A friend to all, both young and old.
Tom was born in 1932 and moved to Livonia in 1949. He graduated from Livonia Central School in June 1951 and the following week he was off to the Great Lakes Naval Training Station. He served in Korea as a hospital corpsman in the US Navy attached to a Marine unit. Tom earned a Purple Heart for wounds received on 11/28/52 and another for more significant wounds received on 12/8/52 when he suffered shrapnel wounds throughout his upper body. Although Tom served in action just under 3 months before he was seriously wounded, he was awarded the Bronze Star for his heroic actions. According to the citation by Major General Pollock, “Hospitalman Watkins displayed exceptional ability, initiative and professional skill in the performance of his duties. On numerous occasions he accompanied combat and ambush patrols while the company was on the line, and he repeatedly exposed himself to intense enemy fire in order to administer aid to the wounded Marines. When a radio operator was seriously wounded, he immediately picked up the radio, established contact with the company and was the main source of control between the patrol leader and the company commander. Hospitalman Watkins’ heroic actions and determined efforts served to inspire his comrades and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”
In 1955, Tom married his high school sweetheart, Maureen Murphy, and together they raised 3 children in the lovely rural setting of Conesus. Tom and his family were avid campers, travelling throughout the USA and Europe. The family made many close friends as members of a local chapter of the National Campers and Hikers Association. In the mid 1980’s Tom and Maureen travelled to Australia and New Zealand for 6 months, once again making many lifelong friends. He retired from driving school bus in 1994, allowing more time to travel, play cards, and enjoy the grandkids.
A dedicated family man who was also well-known for his sense of humor and the jokes that he loved to tell, Tom was a special guy who made everyone feel comfortable and at ease.
Funeral services will be held privately. Family & friends are invited for a Celebration of Remembrance at the St. Matthew Church Community Room, 6591 Richmond Mills Road (Rte 20A,) Livonia, from 1-3pm on Saturday October 5, 2013. Friends are invited to bring a written memory or photo of Tom with them. Burial will be held on Monday October 7, 2013 at 2pm at Bath National Cemetery with full military honors. Memorial contributions may be made in Tom’s memory to the Livingston County Hospice, 2 County Campus, Mt. Morris, NY 14510 or the Wounded Warrior Project, PO Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675. To send a condolence and for further information please visit: www.doughertyfuneralhomes.com