Cover photo for Michael "Mick" Watkins's Obituary
Michael "Mick" Watkins Profile Photo

Michael "Mick" Watkins

June 13, 1951 — September 8, 2023

Laguna Woods, California

Michael "Mick" Watkins

Michael (Mick) L Watkins was born in Seattle, Washington on June 13, 1951, to Keith Watkins and Rosalie (Durham) Watkins. 

Born the second of five children, Mick was fiercely independent, with a playfully antagonistic sense of humor, mechanical mind, and entrepreneurial spirit. As a high school student at Santiago High School, in Garden Grove, California, class of 1969, he was well known among his peers as one of the few students who had a car (a novelty for such a young man in the 60’s)—owed to his determination to make money and gain independence (one of his many jobs was loading catering trucks early in the morning before school) and his mechanical abilities that allowed him to fix up used cars. He never stopped reminiscing about his favorite car, a 1964 GTO and the T-Bird he drove from Iowa to California. 

Mick was also an accomplished guitar player and was recently told by a fellow alumni that he was the best guitar player at Santiago High School.

As a high school student, Mick spent just enough time in the gym to be in the “300 club” meaning he could bench press 300 pounds. Though a staunch pacifist, he also took up taekwondo and quickly earned the rank of black belt. He spent the rest of his life in pursuit of physical health, whether it was spending hours on his elliptical, pedaling on a stationary bike while handing out Christmas presents, or proudly earning miles during his darkest days of cancer treatment, all the while making many friends in his local gym and wherever his walks would take him. 

Mick started his first business in 1973 and infamously made his first million before he turned 30. What is absolutely incredible about Mick is the number of times he lost and earned that same million, never accepting defeat, but rather, cultivating a level of grit that kept him reinventing his approach to success with a zeal, passion, and absolute joy. 
While Mick’s business ventures were ultimately successful, real estate was his true passion. Built on decades of research, failures, successes, and earned wisdom, Mick was able to invest in real estate with wizened skill, and was a valuable resource to anyone who knew him. 

In 1980, Mick welcomed his first daughter, Summer, into the world, and his first excursion with her was to his favorite place in the world—Wrightwood, California. Over the next few years he welcomed in quick succession Hayley, Brittany, and his youngest, Brooke. His girls were a treasure to him whom he loved deeply for each of his days. 

Mick married the absolute love of his life, Kathy, in August of 1989. They bravely brought together their seven total children and navigated the perils of blending a family. His grit and determination buoyed the early years of their marriage, as they worked hard to build their life together. His wife, children, and now 26 grandchildren benefited from their successful efforts to thrive in their marriage. Mick was honored to join Kathy in the raising of her three children, Angela, Philip, and Rashelle, each of whom he loved as his own. 

Mick was an avid used motorhome hobbyist, and is both loved and lovingly despised by his wife and seven children for taking them on two week long cross country road trips in a retrofitted 1970’s avocado green motorhome. Fortunately for his family, his mechanic skills were always on call when the motorhome needed a custom configuration to accommodate his oversized family, or when the engine failed on the side of the road in the middle of a Nevada desert. With absolute joy and a calm fierceness, nothing was impossible to fix! 

Mick was a contractor by trade in his younger years, building and renovating several homes. Each home he purchased with Kathy, he was tasked with updating, rearranging, painting, tiling, plumbing, or even building cabinets for. He was more than happy to do whatever Kathy designed or assigned! No job was impossible, and his family and friends often benefited from his vast experience and ability to fix or “MacGyver” just about anything. 

As his life moved him into the role of grandfather, Mick was overjoyed at the welcome of each of his 26 grandchildren. His favorite job was to rock babies to sleep on his broad chest, something he did for each of his four girls when they were young. He loved to discover the unique personalities and interests of each grandchild, celebrating all their milestones and accomplishments. 

Above all, Mick was a loyal friend, husband, and father. Mick was a best friend to many! He told his children on many occasions, that they each brought purpose to his life. Nothing brought him more joy than time with family, delighting them with forced reruns of Wizard of Oz, football games, Christmas movies, classic movie trivia, sledding, and indoor pool parties. Moreover, his wife Kathy was the light of his life and he was always delighted to tell others about his esteem and love for her and their fruitful partnership. They enjoyed traveling from their homes in Laguna Woods, California and Wrightwood, California to see their children, and grandchildren with weekend adventures that lead them all over Southern California. Mick rarely said no to a spontaneous idea. His favorite phrase, “What R Doing?” usually resulted in brunch at the beach, dinner at the clubhouse, or attending one of the kids’ practices. 

Mick never knew a stranger and had a great love for people. His inability to hold a grudge, zest for every moment he could squeeze out of life, and his unquenchable thirst for experiences, great views, and good conversation made him an absolute joy to be around. He lived a life of great generosity, and his palpable positive mindset and fierce spirit of determination in the face of his health battles was truly heroic. He refused to be anything other than a conqueror. After beating cancer over 10 years ago, Mick and Kathy regularly reflected on the gift of those 10 years, as they welcomed 14 grandchildren over that time. 

Mick’s final battle with cancer ended Friday morning, September 8th, 2023 in Laguna Woods, California at the age of 72, after an arduous battle. He was surrounded by his family at home when he peacefully entered the presence of Jesus. He is deeply loved and missed by all who knew him. 

Mick is preceded in death by his parents and brother Glenn Watkins, sister Merrily (Watkins) Ulich and son-in-law Bryan Ball. He is survived by his wife Kathy, his children and their spouses: Angela and John, Philip and Aja, Rashelle and Justin, Summer, Hayley and Travis, Brittany and Taylor, Brooke and Trever, sister Melody, brother Allen, and his 26 grandchildren.  Michael, Mickey, Mick, Papa, Pappaw, he was so much to so many.

His funeral was held in Laguna Woods, California followed by a celebration of his life. 

A graveside service and burial will be held at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, October 21, 2023 at Morehead Cemetery in Lamar, Missouri.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Michael "Mick" Watkins, please visit our flower store.

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Graveside Service

Saturday, October 21, 2023

11:00 - 11:30 am (Central time)

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