Our dear friend, Randall has passed. Randall was a collector of art glass and has supplied the east coast glass blowing artists, (primarily in NY, CT & MA) with beautiful equipment which he made in his machine shop. The following is Randall's obit followed by a brief & heartfelt paragraph of what I put together for this past weekend's service. Photographs of the beautiful custom equipment Randall has made for me over the years along with a group photo of Steve, myself, Randall & Danielle concludes this post.
Randall S. Watkins, 84, of Sandy Hook, died peacefully at home on January 21, 2012, with loved ones by his side following a courageous battle with cancer.Mr Watkins was the husband of Carolyn ("Connie") Smith Watkins. He was born November 14, 1927, in Monhessen, Penn., to Ruth (Jones) and Reginald S. Watkins. The family moved to Danbury in 1930, and then to Sandy Hook in 1936.Mr Watkins enlisted as a machinist in the Air Force in 1948, during the Korean War. He served for more than three years in Alaska, reaching the rank of Staff Sergeant.He worked for many years at R.S. Watkins & Sons, a company that had been founded by his father, before starting his own business, Beacon Real Company, with his brother Jack in 1976. Mr Watkins worked full-time at his shop, which was like his second home, until 2011, continuing a strong work ethic his children learned from.Avid golfers, Mr Watkins and his wife Connie were members of Newtown Country Club for more than 40 years. Mr Watkins landed three holes-in-one on the NCC course, one on Hole 6 and two on Hole 8. Mr Watkins also enjoyed hunting during his younger years, and fishing with friends in the Great Lakes.He was a Mason for over 55 years, a member of Hiram Lodge 18 in Sandy Hook.About 25 years ago, Mr Watkins was approached by a glass blower who was seeking help in creating equipment for his studio. From that day forward, it was a great love of Mr Watkins to create equipment for glass artists, who in turn formed a great bond with him and affectionately called him The Godfairy of Glass Blowers. Artists often thanked Mr Watkins for his contributions to their art form, and told him that his blow pipes became instrumental in the way glass is blown on the East Coast.In return, Mr Watkins not only became a connoisseur of glasswork but also found great pleasure in regularly sharing pieces from his personal collection with family, friends and many others.In addition to his loving wife of 57 years, Mr Watkins is survived by his daughter, Terri L. Watkins-Braziel, and her husband, William, of Sandy Hook; a son, Randall S. Watkins, and his partner Laura Sanger, formerly of Sandy Hook; granddaughter Brandi Braziel of Sandy Hook, and grandsons Tyler Watkins and Ryan Watkins, also formerly of Sandy Hook.Mr Watkins is also survived by his brother Jack and wife Dawn; another brother, Tom; and a sister, Anna Lou Goodwin, and her husband Robert; all formerly of Sandy Hook. He will be fondly remembered by his many nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.He was predeceased by a brother, Elwood Watkins.The family would like to thank Dr Michael Cohenuram and the staff of The Praxair Cancer Center at Danbury Hospital, Masonicare of Newtown and Masonicare Hospice for their wonderful care of Mr Watkins during the final months of his life.A celebration of Randall S. Watkins's life will be held at Newtown United Methodist Church on Saturday, February 4, at 12:30 pm.Memorial donations can be made to Praxair Cancer Center, 24 Hospital Avenue, Danbury CT 06810; Masonicare at Newtown-Hospice, 139 Toddy Hill Road, Newtown CT 06470; Newtown United Methodist Church, 92 Church Hill Road, Sandy Hook CT 06482; or to the recipient of one's choice.
Randall has made the possibilities of following our hopes & dreams easier to obtain thanks to his overwhelming kindness & generosity. The beautiful crafted tools and equipment that we use in our everyday lives will be cherished for a lifetime. The visits to our studios will be greatly missed along with Randall’s enthusiasm for the art of hand blown glass. Seeing the sparkles of his eyes like a child on Christmas as we create new works has been great inspiration to us. In behalf of fellow glass artists, & myself we thank you Randall.
|Steven Gartner, Clinton Smith, Randall Watkins & Danielle Blade|