ST. MARTINVILLE — A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at noon on Saturday, February 3, 2018, at St. Martin de Tours Catholic Church in St. Martinville, for Wade Joseph Watkins, 90, who passed away on Sunday, January 28, 2018, at AMC in Park Place Care Facility, with his family by his side.
The family requests that visiting hours be observed from 1 p.m. until 9 p.m. on Friday, and continuing at 9:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. on Saturday at Pellerin Funeral Home in St. Martinville.
A Rosary will be recited after a eulogy reading at 7 p.m. on Friday.
Fr. Austin Leger will concelebrate with Fr. John “Buddy” Breaux at the funeral Mass. Scriptures will be read by Gayle Thorne and Michelle Tauzin. Gift bearers will be Nicole Watkins, Kristal Castille, Ashley Bouton, Ginger Prados, Michelle Berard and Susan Douet. Entombment will follow at St. Michael Mausoleum in St. Martinville.
Wade was born in New Iberia and raised in St. Martinville where he shared his life with his devoted wife, Kathryn, of 63 years and where they raised their four children.
Prior to his retiring from the U.S. Army after 42 years of service and being a World War II veteran, Wade had a vast experience of life roles. Starting at a young age, Wade worked in the cane, pepper and cotton fields with his uncles and relatives. He ran a seafood market with his wife, worked in construction and was a car salesman. He worked in the oilfield with Humble Oil, but didn’t like the distance from his family. He worked for the U.S. Postal Service walking seven miles a day as a mail carrier for over 20 years, served as the park ranger, was a member and decorated medalist for the National Guard Rifle team at state and national levels, coach and sponsor for the American Legion Junior Rifle team who became national winners, National Guard Army Recruiter, sheriff’s deputy for 33 years, operated the auxiliary police, civil defense, private security and operated a boat motor repair shop with his son for many years. Wade pushed for the rights and protection of the elderly and was one of the founding members of the first TRIAD program in St. Martin Parish and in the nation. He was also the driving force behind the Veteran’s Memorial in St. Martinville, a dream of his he worked on tirelessly for over 12 years and accomplished.
Wade had an adventurous life dedicated to serving his country and community. He once rode a double decker airplane with President Truman. He was a decorated boxer in the United States Army in several classes. He was called “Frenchie” when stationed in Germany because of his fluent French. He actually lied about his age to join the U.S. Army and was sent home by Uncle Sam until he turned 17. He then served on the European side, while his dad and uncles served on the Pacific side. He was injured by severe frost bite on his right hand and ear when he ended up in a cave with his platoon for weeks, landing him in the hospital, but not before discovering and recovering some of Hitler’s treasures that were stolen from the German’s hidden deep inside the cave. He was honored by the Woodman of the World and the Veteran of Foreign Wars as well as Citizen of the Year in 2013 by the American Legion. He was also awarded the Citizen of the Year by the City of St. Martinville in 1973 for saving a man’s life, not being his first time to do so, or his last.
Wade’s attitude and love of life was contagious. He never met a stranger, everyone looked familiar and woke up saying “hello world.” He always bled “red, white and blue” and lived to serve. He prayed throughout the day and always went to bed saying his prayers of thanks for all he was grateful for. A lot can be learned from his 90-year old attitude.
Wade was a devout Catholic who prayed the Rosary daily and was a very faithful man who knew his God well. He was known around town as “the man of 17 uniforms” because of his active involvement in his community and countless hours volunteering. He was actively involved in his parish church of St. Martin de Tours, serving as a Catholic Youth Group leader mentoring many with time and patience and led by example. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, American Legion, VFW and Honor Guards. He was an avid hunter and camper with his family and enjoyed fishing with his son-in-law Richard and caregivers Leah and John. He spent many years following his grandkids to the various activities they participated in and guided them all to the adults they are today by his example and was proud to be thought of as an “Honorary Father and Grandfather” to many.
He had three girls he considered his “Wednesday’s Child” Tricia Hammon, Billy Broussard Theriot and Michelle Tauzin and we thank them for the many smiles you brought to him. He also stepped up as the father figure to the girl he considered his surrogate daughter Susan Broussard Douet, aka his “Suzie-Q.”
He is survived by son Kirk Watkins and wife, Jeannie, of Hammond; three daughters Phyllis Watkins Castille and husband, John, of Parks, Patty Watkins Boudreaux and husband, Scott, of St. Martinville and Lori Watkins Hurst and husband, Richard, of Youngsville; six grandchildren Sean Castille and wife, Kristal, Clint Castille and partner Ashley Bouton, Jeremy Watkins and wife, Nicole, Amy Watkins, Jamie Watkins and Christian Hurst; and six great-grandchildren Hunter Bulliard, Hannah Guilbeau, Hugh Castille, Nicholas Watkins, Luke Watkins and Easton Castille; and his exchange student granddaughter Klara Kall of Sweden. He is also survived by sisters-in-law Rose, Joyce, Shirley and Jackie Chastant; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his wife and love of his life of 63 years, Kathryn Chastant Watkins; his parents, Columbus and Rena Oubre Watkins; brothers-in-law Warren, Raymond, Richard and Norman Chastant; sisters-in-law Loretta Chastant Prados, Juliette Chastant Lee and Margaret Chastant Broussard.
Pallbearers will be Kirk Watkins, John Castille, Scott Boudreaux, Richard Hurst, Sean Castille, Clint Castille, Jeremy Watkins and Christian Hurst.
Honorary pallbearers will be Nicolas Watkins, Luke Watkins, Hugh Castille, Easton Castille, Donald Akers, Bernie Broussard, Fulton Broussard, Ames Castille, Leonard “Tin” Champagne, Billy Chastant, Daniel Dugas, David Dugas, Richard Durand, Billy Greig, Tommy Greig, Charlie Lasseigne, Paul Maraist, Eric Martin, Mayor Thomas Nelson, Doug Primeaux, Don “Tuffy” Resweber, Roland “RJ” Robichaux, Dave “00” Theriot, James Watkins Jr., Robert Watkins and the members of the American Legion of Parks.
Wade touched many in the community and was very active and involved in so many lives. To know him was to love him and he never met a stranger. He guided many in the youth group, alongside Alvin and Gerry Cormier and Wiltz and Pearl Bienvenue, but he brought that same strength and passion to his family, teaching them all about God and to give of yourself. Wade never sought recognition and was very humble in all he did. He was quick to pick up the pieces for all of his nieces, nephews and cousins in their times of need. He was the grandfather to all of their children at one time or another and was quick to become the “favorite uncle” because of his guidance and time he gave to all. He was a loyal and trusted friend and his compassion was as big as his heart. Wade was never afraid of hard work and long hours. His faith in God came out in everything he did. He never strayed in his belief that one day he would serve in Heaven and we are lucky to know that we have an angel there now of our own.
All who knew him were lucky to call him uncle, friend, neighbor, coworker, brother-in-law, Paw Wade and most importantly Daddy and Paw Paw. He was the most remarkable man and the toughest gentleman with a class act who was okay to call you out if you strayed away from God’s way. He will be dearly missed by all who had the privilege to know him. We are humbled by the strength he demonstrated during these last few weeks.
His children were proud to call him Dad and his grandchildren were proud to call him their Paw Paw. Wade missed his wife dearly and he was proud to call her his wife and finally they are back together.
Our family would like to thank his team of doctors and the staff at the Heart Hospital and the staff at AMC at Park Place LTAC for their hard work and dedication to our father during his time of need with his battle with bronchitis and his neurological set back. We would like to also thank the staff of caregivers that helped through the years, you all know who you are and so do we and it will never be forgotten, but especially Sue Paige, Leah “8 Ball” Montfort, John Paul Douet, Brenda Richard, along with Connor Moore, Hannah Robichaux and Renee Tucker. Their skill and compassion were a great comfort to our family. Thanks also going out to Joey Bienvenue, Clint Cormier and Gerald “TGoo” Delahoussaye for all their anytime, anywhere help. To all who called, left messages or sent prayers, we thank you.
We would also like to thank Richard Hurst, Wade’s son-in-law, for his love and dedication for the last four years, who held Wade’s hand through his battle with Alzheimer’s and who gave him comfort and security with the power of prayer, patience, compassion, unconditional love and most importantly, dignity. Also, a thank you for the unlimited repairs and food from his sons-in-law John Castille and Scott Boudreaux.
Also, a special thank you to Betty Broussard and Bertha Willis who were Wade’s loyal neighbors and friends for over 59 years and a special thank you to Donald Akers and Paul Schwing and especially Fulton Broussard, Wade’s friend for over 70 years, for the continued visits. Your friendships were cherished immensely by our father.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Wade’s name to the City of St. Martinville Veteran’s Memorial Wall, P.O. Box 379, St. Martinville, LA 70582, 394-2230.
To view online obituary, sign guestbook and view video tribute, go to www.pellerinfuneralhome.com.
Pellerin Funeral Home of St. Martinville, 112 New Market St., St. Martinville, LA 70582, 332-2111, is in charge of arrangements.