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American Veteran 04


Donald "Jack" Watkins

October 15, 1924 ~ January 18, 2019 (age 94)

Donald Burton "Jack" Watkins, Jr. age 94, died January 18, 2019 at First Community Village, Upper Arlington.  Born in Delaware, Ohio to Donald B. Watkins and Marjorie Welch Watkins.He was a graduate of Delaware Willis HS, 1942, and entered Ohio Wesleyan University. Jack enlisted in the Army Air Corps on his 18th birthday,and was called to active duty.He earned his Pilot Wings and went into fighter pilot training.  He served in England with 479th Fighter Group of the 8th Air Force, flying the P-51 Mustang. After returning from WW II, he re-enrolled in Ohio Wesleyan University where he met the love of his life, Dorothy (Dottie) Gerlach.  They graduated in 1949 from OWU, married and moved to Columbus.   

Jack worked for the George P. Little Co., then became part owner of the Myron Cornish Co. of Columbus, Acoustical Ceiling Contractors.  He retired in 1989. Jack was active in the Air Force Reserves (Major); St. Mark's Church; OWU and Phi Kappa Psi Alumni; Builder's Exchange; Mercator Club; Rockwell Springs Trout Club in Castalia; Scioto Country Club; Players Tennis Club; the FCV Rusty Singers Director Emeritus; and the Buckeye Trail Association. His passion for the Buckeye Trail Assoc. included map production; Asst. State Trail Coordinator, Adopt-A-Trail program; 2003 American Hiking Society Ohio Volunteer of the Year; 2001 Columbus Dispatch Community Service Award for Outstanding Community Service; 1995 BTA Bob Paton Award for Meritorious Service and BTA Star Awards.

He and Dottie were world travelers; enjoyed skiing in Aspen; competitive tennis; hiking; they were avid birders; and loved to fish.  He just loved being outdoors and cut the grass with a push mower at their long time Upper Arlington residence well into his 80's. They spent many summers at their Canadian family cabin on Lake Duborne in Blind River, Ontario with friends and family and were members of the Battle Point Association. Jack was especially happy watching his grandsons participate in their athletic and choral programs while they were growing up and later spending time with their families.

Preceded in death by parents; brother William W. Watkins; wife of 67 years Dorothy G. Watkins; son, Theodore A. Watkins; cousins Robert May and James T. May.

Survived by daughter Marjorie "Midge" (Jim) Klingensmith; grandsons Andy (Joan) Klingensmith of St. Louis, and Tyler (Abbie) Klingensmith, great-granddaughter Mayleigh Marie Klingensmith of Virginia Beach; beloved nieces and nephews.

A Memorial Service will be held at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 2151 Dorset Rd. Upper Arlington, Ohio 43221 on February 19, 2019 at 1:30.  Family will receive one hour before at 12:30.  Donations may be made in Jack's memory to the Buckeye Trail Association, P.O. Box 5, Shawnee, Ohio, 43782.  Arrangements by GRAUMLICH FUNERAL HOME, 1351 S. High Street. To sign and view Jack’s online guest book please visit

Donations may be made to:

Buckeye Trail Association
P.O. Box 5, Shawnee OH 43782

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