Norris G. Watkins, age 89, was surrounded by his loving family when he passed to his heavenly home on Father’s Day, June 15, 2014, after being unable to recover from an emergency surgical procedure.
Norris was born on Oct. 23, 1924, in the Parker County community of Garner, Texas, to Mattie and Paul Watkins. He lived in Weatherford and the Garner area the majority of his life.
Norris served in the Army in WWII as a member of the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops (known as the “Ghost Army”), specializing in impersonating other troops. The 23rd’s 82 officers and 1,023 enlisted men pretended, at one time or another, to be the 5th Armored Division, the 4th Infantry Division, the 6th Armored Division, the 90th Infantry Division and many other Army outfits in order to fool the enemy and, by doing so, enabled the troops that the 23rd was impersonating to sneak into new positions and be able to launch a surprise attack or in some other way catch the other side off guard. The Ghost Army stayed classified by the United States government for 50 years.
After being discharged from the Army, Norris returned to Parker County and married the love of his life, Pauline Calhoun. Norris and Pauline were married for 30 years and raised four children prior to Pauline’s death in 1976. Thereafter, Norris married Mary Waggoner in 1979 and they were married 33 years until Mary’s death in 2013.
Norris retired from General Dynamics (now Lockheed Martin) at the age of 55 and then returned to General Dynamics under contract to teach trigonometry to newly-hired machinists. Norris later owned and operated a bull-dozing business. Retiring early in life meant that Norris had ample time to fish, play golf and enjoy his many family members and friends.
Norris was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Fred Watkins, Johnny Watkins, Kenneth Watkins and Monte Watkins; his sister, Pauline Whiteway; and his son, Stephen Watkins.
Survivors: brother, James Watkins; son, Gary Watkins and wife, Inez; son, Michael Watkins and wife, Laura; daughter, Karen Ford and husband, Gary; daughter-in-law; Margaret Watkins; numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Funeral: 1 p.m. Wednesday, June 18, 2014, at Galbreaith Pickard Funeral Chapel. Interment in Ballew Springs Cemetery.
Visitation 6-8 p.m. Tuesday at Galbreaith Pickard.
Galbreaith Pickard Funeral Chapel