Gordon Daryl Watkins was born November 25th, 1941 to Rev. Frank & Lois Watkins in Los Angeles, California. He grew up in Nazarene parsonages in the Southern California District including Garden Grove, Chula Vista and other surrounding areas.
Gordon graduated from Colton Union High School where he played trombone and was the Drum Major in the Rose Bowl Parade. He later graduated from Pasadena Nazarene College with a Bachelor Degree in Ministerial Studies. In 1965, Gordon attended Nazarene Theological Seminary (NTS) in Kansas City, Missouri. During that time, he worked at the Nazarene International Headquarters for the Home Missions Department.
Pastoring sent Gordon to numerous states around the US, including: California, Alabama, Arizona, Wyoming, Wisconsin, Montana and finally Idaho. While everyone in the family was attending NNC, Gordon was asked to help at the Southside Spanish Church in Nampa. He and his wife, Judi, provided keyboard and piano support. The Spanish Church decided to hold afternoon services for people who speak English, and Gordon was put in charge. A bread ministry was provided. They retired from that ministry and returned to College Church to be part of the Sanctuary Choir. Judi taught 2nd grade Sunday School, and they routinely participated in the Living Christmas Tree Program.
Throughout his career, Gordon was often bi-vocational, working as a teacher for various middle and elementary schools. Gordon always found where he was needed and sought out ways to motivate and mentor several decades’ worth of growing minds. He also thrived as a tennis and ski coach, balancing a love for sports and his desire to educate.
After retiring from the Nampa School District, Gordon joined the Boise Master Chorale where he was able to perform alongside the Boise Philharmonic.
In 1967, while singing for the Kansas City District Layman’s Retreat, Gordon was spotted by Leola Jablecki, who told her daughter, Judith, “I have found the man for you,” at which point Judi laughed. After a brief period of dating, friend and former Pasadena roommate, Tharon Daniels was quoted saying, “Gordon, don’t let this one get away.” Of course, both Tharon and Leola’s words rang true because Gordon and Judi were married on January 20th, 1968 in Seminary Chapel at NTS in Kansas City.
While pastoring in Doris, California, in 1971, their first son was born: Stephen David Watkins. Later, in 1975, their second son was born in Kansas City, Missouri: Adam Thomas Watkins. Finally, in 1977, their third son was born in Texarkana, Texas: Andrew Alan Watkins. Gordon is survived by his wife Judi, his sister Beth (of Mattoon, Wisconsin), his sons: Stephen, Adam, Andrew, and their children: Isaac, Emily, Lisa, Keegan, Ivy, Leo, Kaydnse, and his great-grandson: Bennet.
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