Helen Genelle Payne Watkins, 82 of Cooleemee, N.C. passed away on Thursday, October 8, 2020 at her home. She was born December 7, 1937, the daughter of the late Deloast Payne and Savannah Hairston Payne, the youngest of 6 siblings. Blessed with a loving and caring family, she often spoke of her moral strength that was passed from one generation to another.
Mrs. Watkins’ education was obtained at Central Davie High School, Winston – Salem State University, and Forsyth Technical College. She retired from North-West Child Development Center, Mocksville, N.C. with over twenty-five years of devoted service.
She dedicated her life to Christian leadership and strongly believed that the church is the foundation of the community. A lifelong member of Friendship Baptist Church in Cooleemee, her church affiliations are; Deacon, Community Bible School and Sunday School Teacher, President of the Senior Missionary Society, Second-Vice President of the Davie County Missionary Union, and the recording secretary of the Guiding Light Missionary Baptist Association Women’s Auxiliary. She remained an active and faithful member until her health decline.
Mrs. Watkins was involved in grass-roots politics and organized community-wide Voter Registration Drives . She was a former member of the Davie County Civil Rights Task Force, appointed election official of the Davie County Board of Elections and served as an Election Judge for the Cooleemee’s voting precinct.
Mrs. Watkins participated in numerous community activities, including the Cooleemee Historical Association, Civitan Club and the Davidson County Chapter of the Hairston Clan.
Mrs. Watkins special interest included, African-American History that focused on the preservation of local community history.
She was preceded in death by her parents, siblings, her husband, John Henry Watkins and her son, John Kelvin Watkins.
Mrs. Watkins is survived by three daughters, Carolyn Watkins- Dillard, Avis Watkins-Smith (Rickey), Lori Rhodes (Bobby), two sons, James Watkins, and Carl Watkins. Sister-in-law, Ethel L Payne, a niece, Mrs. Geraldine Cuthbertson (William Alex) raised with her in the home, 13 grandchildren, 19 great grandchildren and a host of nieces and nephews.
Mrs. Watkins was a kind and loving person and will be greatly missed by family members and dear friends.
The family is being service by Hairston Funeral Home, 703 S Main St. Salisbury N.C. 28144.
A graveside service will be held on Friday, October 16, 2020 at 2:00PM at the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery, 155 Erwin Temple Church Rd. Woodleaf, N.C. with Rev. Dr. Ervin Baker officiating.
Condolences may be left in the care of Hairston Funeral Home.
Due to Covid-19, the family will follow the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidance for wearing face covering in public settings and social distancing.
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