Philip H. Watkins, Jr., MD, was mercifully and graciously taken home to his Savior on August 11, at the age of 76.
Phil was born on October 26,1946, in Kansas City, Missouri. He is preceded in death by his parents, Philip H. Watkins, Sr., and his mother, Helen Doherty Watkins. He is survived by his wife of nearly 50 years, Catherine M. Watkins; his sister, Joann Watkins McEachen, and her husband, J. Gary McEachen; his son John Philip Watkins and wife Neeley Spellmeier; and his son Matthew Neil Watkins, wife Katherine Watkins and granddaughter Birdie Florence Watkins.
Phil grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, and attended the University of Kansas, earning an undergraduate degree in chemistry. He attended KU School of Medicine where he met the love of his life, Catherine Brosnan. They married in Kansas City in 1973. He completed an internship in Denver and then attended Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, where he completed one year of an internal medicine residency and a three-year residency in ophthalmology.
From an early age, Phil developed a love of his country, as was evidenced in his life's work. It began in Scouting as a child. He later would become the Cubmaster for Pack 396 and Scoutmaster for Troop 496. Family involvement in World War II and the Vietnam War impacted his decision to serve in the United States Air Force for almost 5 years before accepting the position as chief of ophthalmology at the VA Medical Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he served veterans for over 31 years. While at the VA, he also completed a combined 22 years in the New Mexico Air National Guard and served as Commander of 704th Air Force Reserve Medical Squadron. He retired as a colonel and senior flight surgeon in 2006.
In his later years, Phil served the Lord by sharing God's Word with the Grace Church Ministry one Sunday a month to residents at the Genesis Nursing Home. He also provided national holiday programs for the residents and honored all veterans who crossed his path.
Phil had a heart for teaching. He worked as an associate professor at the University of New Mexico, where he mentored and trained incoming ophthalmology residents.
In addition to all of the above, Phil was a child of God. He was a dedicated and loving son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, and friend. He would do anything to help and better his family and friends. He mentored and taught hundreds of doctors in training, helped thousands of patients see better, and offered sound advice to family and friends going through difficult health situations. Phil was a kind, spirited, and loving person. We will miss him.
If so inclined, in lieu of flowers, please donate to Boy Scouts of America, an organization that meant a lot to him both as a Scout and as a father, or to Joni and Friends, a ministry serving people with disabilities.
A celebration of life will be held on September 30th, 2023 at 2 p.m. at Grace Church of Albuquerque: 6901 San Antonio Dr. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109.