Red Watkins

March 28, 2024

Red Watkins, born Travis Duane Watkins on February 9, 1943, died peacefully in his home on March 7, 2024, surrounded by his loved ones. He was 81 years old.

Red was born in Clarksville, Arkansas, to Truman Watkins and Lois Shields Watkins. He is preceded in death by his mother and father, his beloved wife of 28 years, Lanette Sorenson Watkins, his son, Thomas (T.W.) Watkins, his brother-in-law Bob Sorenson, and his sister-in-law Sondra Sorenson.

He joined the Navy at 17 years old, fulfilling his childhood dream of becoming a sailor, and traveled the world during his service amidst the Vietnam War. In a whirlwind courtship during the early 60’s, he and Lanette fell in love, married, and raised four daughters and one son together. After the Navy, he moved his family to Grand Prairie, Texas, and became a firefighter in the 60’s. His courage and bravery in service to his country and his community are remembered with deep respect.

In the mid-80s, he moved his family to Moody, Texas, where he and Lanette bought and ran a community convenience store, becoming a fixture in their small town. He also established his own trucking business and eventually became a long-haul truck driver for Western Auto, Wilsonart, and most recently, Lonestar Freightliner, where he was still working shortly before his passing. Red was always appreciated as an exemplary employee and earned many safety awards throughout the years.

He was known and respected for his work ethic, his love for his country, his generous nature, his love for his friends, and his deep love for his family, of whom he was enormously proud.

He leaves behind his four daughters Laura Brazell and husband Mike of Gatesville, Texas; Terri Douglas and husband Paul of Hurst, Texas; Cyndie Gerlach and husband Keith of Moody, Texas; and Rene Polvado of Moody, Texas, as well as his prolific lineage of 13 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.

His grandchildren are Bobby Brazell, Rusty and Ashley Brazell, Daniel and Jennifer Brazell, Miranda and Chris Haeckler, Meagan and Sam Jiminez, Misty and Wes Perryman, Kristan Owen, Jamie Teague, Joe and Holly Owen, Leisha Gerlach, Brett and Catherine Polvado, Shelbi Polvado, and Alli Polvado.

He also leaves behind his cherished friend of 20 years, Twyla Campbell of Temple, Texas, his siblings-in-law who love him like a brother and whom he loved and considered his own family: Sue and Jim Colley, Sarilyn and Bill Harrison, Kathy and Ken Odle, JoEllen and Billy Hardy, Butch Sorenson, and a large number of nieces and nephews who will miss him immensely.

A private memorial and celebration of Red’s life is being held in April for family and close friends.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to a local veteran’s organization that assists veterans and their families, NAMI Texas or other mental health organizations, or to the American Lung Association.