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William Marc Watkins


Bill Watkins (Dad/Grandpa) peacefully passed away on the early morning of June 13th, 2024, surrounded by his family throughout his difficult battle with pancreatic cancer.

Bill was larger than life and adored by so many and he loved them back. He spent most of his life in East Grand Rapids and was proud and humbled by the year he spent in Vietnam. He was a decorated 82nd Airborne Sargeant Army Veteran earning a bronze star and other high ranks for his heroism, bravery, and courage.

Bill loved spending time with family and friends in Traverse City (especially the Trippe’s house) and Grand Haven. He adored taking Sue on trips around northern Michigan for their anniversary week in September every year. Anytime the Blue Angels were flying over Traverse City, Bill was there with a huge smile on his face.

Early morning sunrises over Reeds Lake or casting a line in a trout stream up at the Barothy Lodge for a yearly trout opener get together with many close friends. We’re still not sure if anyone ever actually caught a trout! He loved going to EGR football games, and even had a “reserved” spot with his friends on the fence with a sign to back it up.

Bill was selfless and took care of Sue through her many difficult cancer battles.

He was known as The Grill Master by many. Also nicknamed Billy, he threw his own Belly Hacker tennis tournaments. He was an avid swimmer and tennis player, and sometimes golfer.

Bill enjoyed tending to his lawn and keeping a beautiful yard and landscaping with the help of his sister, Libby.

Bill was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Sue, and his parents (Bob and Betty Watkins) and his favorite dogs Bunker and Tank. He is survived by his son, Marc Watkins (Amanda), his daughter, Sarah Bohnsack (Shaun), his beloved grandchildren Aiden and Kensie Bohnsack and Hudson Watkins and his siblings Birge (Liz) Watkins, Libby (Bill) Southworth, Sarah (Steve) Trippe and Robb (Allison) Watkins along with his in laws and his many nieces and nephews who he loved dearly.

The family would like to sincerely thank Bill’s friends and neighbors (who have also become close friends) for all of their support and well wishes during his difficult battle. He was loved by so many, and you all kept him smiling and fighting to the end.

We thank everyone for the outpouring of generosity and support during our dad’s tough battle. It truly means the world to our family.

Bill sacrificed so much for his country and his family. We are going to miss him dearly. He was truly one of the good ones. Bill will be missed by many, but never forgotten. There will be a memorial bench honoring Bill and Sue located near Blodgett hospital. Feel free to stop by and take a load off and say hi!

He was truly the life of the party, and he threw some of the best around!

Raise a glass to the best of the best. We love you forever and always!

There will be a visitation for Bill at O’Brien-Eggebeen-Gerst, 3980 Cascade Rd. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546, on June 24th from 4-7pm. There will be a short Honor Guard Veteran’s ceremony around 4:30pm to honor Bill. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Veterans of Foreign Wars ( in memory of Bill.

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