Willard Wallace Watkins Jr., known as Skip by friends and family, lost his battle with cancer on May 20, 2019. He went peacefully with his family by his side.

He was born on January 1, making him the first New Years baby in 1944 in Eureka. Skip grew up in Fields Landing and never left the Eureka area. Skip could remember a joke, and even make up jokes on a spur of the moment — many told him he missed his calling as a stand-up comedian. He had a nickname for everyone he met, and there was always a story to go along with it.

His favorite pastime was tinkering on items, using his mechanical stills. He could fix anything. During his life he held several jobs. He worked for the Vita Sea Corporation for 34 years. This was his most memorable job because he got to work side by side with his brother, Wes, and enjoyed working on the fishing docks in Fields Landing. As boats crossed the bar or in the bay he knew the name of each boat and the fisherman on them, just by looking at the shape of the boat and its equipment. In 1991 Skip and his wife, Lauraine, purchased Custom Sweeping. They were partners, running the trucks and he was very proud owning his own successful business. Skip was a dedicated worker, working every day up until he became sick.

With family being his top priority, Skip was very proud of his son Gerald and daughter Teresa. He loved spending time with them and his four grandchildren. Instead of traveling, “Papa” would always choose to be with his kids and grandchildren.

Skip is survived by his wife of 54 years, Lauraine; his children Teresa (Steve) Frediani of Chico, and Gerald (Ashlee) Watkins of Eureka; his four grandchildren, Alex Frediani, Andrea Frediani, Taylor Watkins and Alyssa Watkins; brothers Butch Watkins of Eureka and Wes Watkins of Brookings; sister Billie (Lawrence) Bestul of Aberdeen, Washington, and Mickey Ann Land of Eureka; sister-in-law Pat (Mikey) Hill of Eureka; double cousin Gary (Jay) Watkins of Eureka; close childhood friend Denny Brazil of Fields Landing; and many nieces and nephews.

Skip was preceded in death by his parents, Willard Watkins Sr. and Phyllis Bak. His sisters Donna King and Marie (Raker) Harper and best friend Frank Gratz. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to your favorite charity in Skip’s honor.


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Skip Watkins’ family. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.