Esther Watkins

Miss Esther Watkins of Philadelphia died on July 8, 2013, at age 97.

A funeral mass will be celebrated on Saturday, July 13, 2013, at 10 a.m. at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Philadelphia.  Burial will follow in Cedarlawn Cemetery.  Visitation will be held Friday, July 12, 2013, from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at McClain-Hays Funeral Home.

Esther was the daughter of Thaddeus Earl Watkins, Sr. and Nettie Elizabeth Watkins Duncan.  She was also preceded in death by her brother, Thaddeus Earl Watkins, Jr. and a nephew, John Watkins.

A longtime resident of Philadelphia, Esther earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree at MSCW, a Masters Degree in History at the University of Alabama, a Masters Degree in Special Education at Mississippi State University.  While a graduate student at the University of Alabama, she wrote a comprehensive history of Neshoba County.

Miss Watkins, a dedicated teacher, taught English and special education at Philadelphia High School for almost 50 years.  She gave of herself in and out of the classroom and touched the lives of many students.  She was an active member of Holy Cross Catholic Church where she served her faith community.  She loved to paint, read and travel and will be remembered by those who knew her for her generosity, kindness and selflessness.

Esther is survived by her sister, Mildred Watkins Wilson of Louisville; a sister-in-law, Louise Watkins of Nashville, Tenn.; nieces, Carol Wilson Kramer (Fred) of St. Louis, Mo., Elizabeth Watkins Saunders (Kevin) of Hendersonville, Tenn. and Esther Watkins Gulli (Chris) of Oakland, Calif.; nephews, David Wilson, Jr. of Louisville, Thaddeus Earl Watkins, III (Christy) of Nashville, Tenn. and Jim Watkins (Susan) of Rome , Ga.; numerous great nieces and nephews and three great-great- nephews.

She will be greatly missed by her nieces and nephews who were blessed to call her Aunt Esther.

The family wishes to thank the nurses and staff of Quality Hospice and her loving caregivers, Barbara Haskins, Mary Despiegler, Joyce Chisolm and Else Parney.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to Holy Cross Catholic Church or your favorite charity.