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George E. 'Ted' Watkins, 77

| April 6, 2010 4:42 AM

George E. “Ted” Watkins passed away on Thursday, April 1, 2010, in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was born Oct. 1, 1932, in Kevin, Mont., the sixth child of Harry and Clara Watkins.

In the sixth grade Ted moved to Great Falls, Mont., with his mother and brother’s Wally and Gwyn to attend The Montana School for Deaf and Blind. He graduated at 16 and then went to the University of Montana for one year. He transferred to Northern Montana College in Havre, Mont., for his sophomore year and went back to the U of M for one more year before money issues forced him to go to work. 

His brother Wilbur “Bunts” Watkins took him in as a partner in his beer distributor business located in Havre in 1956 when Ted was 24 and they remained partners in business throughout their entire careers. In 1965 Ted and Bunts bought another beer distribution business in Missoula, Mont., and Ted moved his family to Missoula to run the business. In 1973 they purchased another beer business in Spokane, Wash., at which time Ted moved his family to the Spokane area. They sold the business in Spokane in 1980 but Ted continued to live in the Spokane/Coeur d’Alene area at least part of the year for the remainder of his life.

Ted married Mary Ellen Fey of Shelby, Mont., in 1955 and they divorced in 1974. They had five children together. On Sept. 15, 1984, Ted married Darlene Beck Wing of Minneapolis, Minn., who remained devoted to him up to the time of his death. 

He was preceded in death by his older brother, Stan and younger brother Bruce. His only sister, Rosemary Teel passed away on Saturday, April 3, 2010.

Survivors include his brothers, Bunts (June), Wally (Sara) and Gwyn. He is also survived by his five children, Robin Watkins of Hayden, Harry (Kari) Watkins of Missoula, Tony (Brenda) Watkins of Idaho Falls, Mitch (Linda) Watkins of Twin Falls and Ramona (Tim) Palmer of Idaho Falls; and two step children, Dan (Bridget) Wing of Seattle, Wash., Robert (Carla) Wing of Minneapolis, Minn., and 15 grandchildren.

A service is planned at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 10, 2010, at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 501 E. Wallace Ave., in Coeur d’Alene. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Shriner’s Children's Hospital in Spokane or St. Luke’s Episcopal Church would be greatly appreciated.

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