Cover photo for James Stephen Watkins's Obituary
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1949 James 2023

James Stephen Watkins

August 20, 1949 — July 4, 2023

James “Steve” Watkins, 73, passed away peacefully on the evening of July 4, 2023, following several months of declining health.


Steve was born August 20, 1949, in Kansas City, KS, the second child of Jim and Maxine (Manion) Watkins. The family moved to Herington, KS for two years before relocating to Newton, where Steve graduated from high school in 1967. He attended Southwestern College in Winfield, KS on scholarship, graduating with honors in 1971 with business administration and finance degrees.


Upon graduation, Steve moved to Dallas, TX where he worked in restaurant franchise management.  Steve's career brought him back to Wichita, KS, in 1975. By the late 1970s, disillusioned by the business world, he turned to a career better suited to his personality, caring for the elderly.


For 31 years (1981 - 2012), Steve devoted himself to caring for residents of Friendly Acres/Asbury Park and also working as a private duty nurse. He enjoyed helping the residents and being part of a care team, where he made many work friends over the years. During this time he cared for approximately 1,500 individual people.


Steve loved nature, being outdoors, and animals of all kinds but especially dogs. He looked forward to his garden each year. Steve was a voracious reader, enjoying historical books, westerns, mysteries, and crime dramas.  However, the most important thing to Steve was his family. He doted on his mother, was the brother you could count on for two sisters, and was known as the fun uncle to 12 nephews and nieces.


Proceeded in death by his parents, Steve is survived by his two sisters Joanne (Chuck) Carpenter, Maidens, VA and Jeri (Dan) Biehler, Augusta, KS; five nephews and nieces: Jim Carpenter, John Carpenter, Terri Carpenter, J.D. Biehler and Francie Biehler; five great-nephews/nieces and two great-great nieces.


A graveside service will be held at Hillside Cemetery, Sedgwick, KS Monday, July 17th @ 10:00 a.m. 


In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial gifts be made to Paramount Community Living & Rehab (for resident enrichment) or Good Shepherd Hospice, whose staff provided exceptional comfort and care to Steve during his final months.


Paramount Community Living & Rehab, 200 SW 14th, Newton, KS 67114

Good Shepherd Hospice, 300 N Main #301, Newton, KS 67114

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James Stephen Watkins, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Graveside Service

Monday, July 17, 2023

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

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