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Bench dedicated to memory of late Elon employee

Dozens of members of the Elon community gathered at the edge of Lake Mary Nell to remember university automotive mechanic Ed Watkins.

Chaplain Janet Fuller conducts a ceremony dedicating a memorial bench in honor of Physical Plant employee Ed Watkins by Lake Mary Nell.

Friends, family members and former co-workers gathered at Elon’s Lake Mary Nell on Aug. 13 to dedicate a bench in memory of Ed Watkins, an automotive mechanic in the university’s Physical Plant and a highly-regarded member of the Elon community. 

Watkins, a seven-year employee of the university, died April 18, 2014, following a boating accident as he fished on a Caswell County lake a few miles north of campus. His sudden passing shook his close-knit group of colleagues in the Physical Plant, many of whom joined dozens of other Elon employees in attendeding the dedication ceremony. 

“We dedicate a bench in Ed’s honor and memory, and as a way of keeping his presence close to us at Elon,” university Chaplain Jan Fuller said. “May Ed’s presence be remembered here with humor and honor, with tender thanksgiving.” 

Ed Watkins

Ed’s mother, Margie Watkins, is a program assistant in Greek Life. She sat with Ed’s father, Brice, and his sister on the bench during the dedication. 

“It is a special blessing to work at Elon,” Margie Watkins said to the crowd gathered at the ceremony. “Ed loved working here and created a special love for those he worked with.” 

Known to his co-workers as “Big Ed,” Watkins was remembered as being both playful and a hard worker. 

“He thoroughly enjoyed finding something to pick on everyone about,” Margie Watkins said. 

Co-workers who spoke at the dedication shared humorous stories about Ed, and characterized him as gentle, dependable, a stellar cook and a hard worker. 

“I’m just thankful to have this opportunity to thank you on behalf of the family for being special to him,” Margie Watkins said.


Philip Jones,
8/13/2014 5:05 PM