Arvel Lee Watkins Jr.

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Arvel Lee Watkins Jr.

Arvel Lee Watkins Jr., 55, of Benson, passed away on Monday, September 4, 2017, at his home in Benson. Visitation will be held on Friday, September 8, 2017, at the Assembly of God Church in Benson, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., and will continue for one hour prior to the service at the church on Saturday. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, September 9, at 1:00 p.m. at the Assembly of God Church in Benson. Zniewski Funeral Home of Benson is assisting the family with the arrangements.

Arvel Lee Watkins, Jr., son of Arvel and Suzanne Watkins, was born on April 13th, 1962 in Blairsville, GA. He was baptized in August 1977 at Rock Bridge Baptist Church in Lithonia, GA. He grew up in Gwinnett County near Snellville, GA. He attended high school at South Gwinnett High School. Near the end of his Senior year, he decided to obtain his GED and joined the United States Air Force in the late Spring of 1980. He was active duty Air Force until April 1986 and then later joined the Air Force Reserves for a number of years. During his military service, he obtained the rank of Staff Sergeant. 

During his time in the Air Force, he met Patricia Louise Diederich of Benson, MN. After their time in the Air Force, they later settled in Minneapolis, MN, where they were united in marriage on November 20th, 1987. They were blessed with four daughters, Brianna, Ashley, Amanda and Kimberly. He currently resided in Benson, MN. Through the duration of his life, Arvel was known as a jack of all trades, always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone in need. He excelled in numerous career fields and was currently employed with Buehler’s in Willmar, MN in the fabrication department.

Arvel was the exemplification of so many amazing qualities, including patriotism, faith, passion, integrity, loyalty, and intelligence, just to name a few. He was an avid outdoorsman. He loved everything about being out in nature and particularly enjoyed deer and dove hunting, fishing, and trapping. He would often go driving with friends to “putt” around to observe the movement of wildlife in the countryside. He was an impressive historian and would talk the ear off anyone willing to listen about any subject. He loved to read and soak up as much knowledge as possible. He was an exceptionally good cook and was famous for his fried venison, fish casserole, and anything he could cook up on the grill. 

As much as he loved his hobbies and interests, his greatest joy in life was spending time with family and friends. He was beyond proud of the four girls he raised with Trish, the women they became, and the accomplishments they continue to make. He was a man who said he never wanted a cat or a small dog, but he ended up rescuing and having both, along with numerous other fur-babies over the years. He cherished every minute of it, a softie on the sly. As most of you who know him will remember, he could be quite a cantankerous crank, but he always lit up whenever family and friends got together. The most notably loveable characteristic was his passion for every addition to our families. He was the holder of all of the babies. 

Arvel left this life unexpectedly on Monday, September 4th, 2017. He obtained the age of 55 years. He was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Loy and Ella Watkins, and his maternal grandparents, Earl and Lena Aiken; Father-and Mother-in-law Cletus and Doris Diederich; Brothers-in-law Joseph and Paul Diederich; Sister-in-law Lucille Diederich; great friend Scotty Collins; also, numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins. 

He is survived by his wife Patricia Diederich-Watkins of Benson, MN; daughter Brianna (Matthew Naig) Watkins of Murdock, MN, and her three children Taylor, Isabella, and Mea; daughter Ashley (Bruce Regan) Watkins of Golden Valley, MN; daughter Amanda (Sean Peterson) Watkins Peterson of Vienna, Austria; daughter Kimberly Watkins of Eagan, MN; his parents Arvel and Suzanne Watkins of Mansfield, GA; sister Renee (David Carter) Watkins of Mansfield, GA; sister Lauren Kimberly Watkins-Pittman of Cumming, GA; brother Matthew (Cynthia) Watkins of Marietta, GA; sister Melissa (Jim Davis) Watkins of Mansfield, GA; best friend Jon Gades of Benson, MN; beloved dog Izzie (whom he goofily called Iselda the Conqueror); and many other aunts, uncles, in-laws, cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.

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