A lifelong resident of the Marshall County, Ind., area, Ernie enjoyed golf, bowling and horseshoes.
Born in Marshall County on Nov. 16, 1922, he was the son of the late Henry Watkins and Catherine “Kate” Miller Watkins. Ernie was a graduate of Bourbon High School in 1941. After graduation he worked at Sponseller Construction, Parker Shell Gas Station and Plymouth Dairy. He also served as Bourbon Township Trustee and Assessor and as Triton School Corporation as maintenance director. He later worked for Ball Auction Service from 1995-2013 where he could be found helping in any way he could helping set up for sales. He was honored for his service to the school by the dedication of the Ernie Watkins Pavilion at Triton High School in 2012.
He was a charter member of Country Church of Bourbon from 1965 -2010 until he and his wife moved to North Carolina. He served as the building director of the church.
In 1945, Ernie married the love of his life, with whom he shared 68 years.
He is survived by his wife: Eleanor Bailey Watkins; their children: Ernie Ann and husband Allen Metheny, Avon Park, Fla.; Melody (Eddie) Sellers, Morganton, N.C.; and Fred (Leigh) Watkins, Warsaw, Ind.; grandchildren: Eric (Marsha) Metheny, Nicole (Eric) Stewart, Andrea (Jason) Frye, Autumn Carrera, Erica (Amon) Munyaneza, and Jessica (John) Marshall; great-grandchildren: Vince Metheny, Jacqueline Metheny, Rebecca Stewart, Rachel Stewart, Emma Robinson, Zain Frye, Estrella Esteban, Ossiel Carrera, Jose A. Esteban, Acacia Munyaneza, Keza Munyaneza and Maya Marshall; sisters: Phyllis Blosser, Delores (Willard) Klotz, Cleo Brown and June Ganshorn; and sisters-in-law: Mary Evelyn Watkins and Eleanor Watkins.
He was preceded in death by his parents; three brothers: Theodore, Dale and Max Watkins; two infant brothers; and four sisters: Gladys Border, Jessie Danner, Hilda Strang and Glee McDonald.
The family will receive friends from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10, in The Country Church, SR 331 N., Bourbon. Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday in The Country Church with Pastor David Gould of The Country Church officiating.
Deaton-Clemens Funeral Home of Bourbon is handling the arrangements.