Annie "Helen" B. Watkins

Wednesday, August 1st, 1917 - Friday, September 11th, 2020
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On Friday, September 11th, 2020, Annie (Helen) Watkins of Pylesville, loving sister, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, great-great grandmother, aunt and friend to many, passed away at the age of 103 in the Maryland Masonic Home.

Helen was born on August 1, 1917 in Dinwiddie County, VA. She was the fourth of eight children, and spent her childhood on her family’s farm. She was married in 1937 at the age of 19 to Herman Dalton, and between the years of 1938 and 1955 they had four children.

In 1960, she became a single mother following the death of her husband and worked hard to continue to provide for her family in his absence by working in a factory sewing buttons on pants. In 1967, she was married to Bill Watkins and moved to Maryland with her youngest daughter, Debbie. In 1975, after less than ten years of marriage, Bill passed away; Helen lived the next 37 years by herself. She was the toughest lady around. She survived the pandemic of 1918, double knee replacements at the age of 84, a stroke at the age of 96 and covid-19 earlier this year.

She is preceded in death by her two husbands:Herman Dalton and Bill Watkins; six siblings: Bernard Byrd, Hazel Minetree, Hallie Martin, Dorothy Martin, Ray Byrd, Raleigh Byrd and her daughter in law, Ginna Dalton.

She is survived by her sister, Barbara Williams; her four children: Jimmy Dalton and wife, Opal, Ann Matthews and husband, Leroy, Sam Dalton, Debbie Hess and husband, Steve; her nine grandchildren: Sandra Dalton Wright, Dickie Dalton, Janet Eley, David Matthews, Carol Caldwell, Micah Dalton, Erin Newton, Jason Hess and Allison Hess-Golliday; her 17 great grandchildren: Carly Bullock, Taylor Eley, Jessica Harris, Jake Matthews, Jesse Caldwell, Katie Caldwell, Amy Schexnayder, Wesley Hopkins, Abby Tredway, Claire Kindley, Aghavni Dalton, Madeleine Newton, Moira Newton, Miriam Newton, Hanna Hess, Hudson Hess and Eva Golliday; her three great-great grandchildren: Carter Bullock, Kaylee Bullock and Jazz Bullock.

She had a passion for gardening, sewing and cooking. Her legacy lives on in her cooking and her quilting. In her lifetime, she made approximately 5,000 biscuits, 100 carrot cakes, and no less than 200 pans of baked apples. She pieced and quilted hundreds of quilts, providing at least one to every child, grandchild, and many great grandchildren. She taught many of her children and grandchildren to sew and to cook. She was also a beloved, long time member of the Highland Presbyterian Church where she served as deacon and was active in the Women's Association. Her faith was first and foremost in her life.

She had many names: Annie, Helen, Turkey (Lord, how she hated that name!), Mama, Mom, Aunt Helen and Grandma. In 1983, she shifted from Grandma to Mema, a name that became a huge part of her identity. She was Mema to all the grandchildren that came after that and all the friends of the grandchildren. Everyone knew Mema. It was not simply what her grandchildren called her, it was an entity, a force all its own. There will never be another Mema.

She will be deeply missed by those who loved her, including staff and friends at the Maryland Masonic Home and staff from Gilchrist Hospice. She was beloved by all there. Services will be private; however, a memorial service will be planned sometime next year to celebrate her life. Harkins Funeral Home in Delta, PA is handling the arrangements. Contributions may be made to Highland Presbyterian Church, 701 Highland Road, Street, MD 21154 or to the Maryland Masonic Home, 300 International Circle, Cockeysville, MD 21030.
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Private Condolence

Christine Chmielewski

Posted at 11:37am
I am so incredibly grateful that I had the privilege and blessing in meeting and caring for Ms. Watkins at Maryland Masonic Homes. I was able to sing with her, laugh with her, share stories together, and do her beautiful nails as she listened to Frank Sinatra. I am certain that heaven is a lot more fun now that Ms. Watkins is there!
D Posted at 10:10am

Christine thank you for being so good to Mom. Even during those somewhat confused facetime calls, you were so patient with her. She loved her nails!!

Pebbles Blake

Posted at 03:29pm
Ms Watkins was loved by many including myself. I have fond memories of her at the Highland Senior Center when I was manager there. I shall always remember Ms. Helen Watkins and the memories with the Highland Senior Center. I am proud to have had her in my life there, she was a treasure to all who knew her. Rest well Ms. Watkins.

Betsy Galbreath

Posted at 11:56am
Ms Helen was a beautiful woman who had a heart of gold. we have fond memories of her at the Highland Senior Center. She knew everyone, no one was a stranger to her. Mom, Margaret Harkins, fondly remembers Helen and good memories with the homemakers and the Senior Center. We know she is rejoicing in her reunion with her husbands, and siblings.
Tom and Betsy Galbreath

Mary Washburn

Posted at 08:54am
Helen was a long time member of Highland Homemaker, Helen opened her beautiful home for Homemaker meetings throughout the years. Helen's graciousness and love made all who attended so very comfortable. As we say goodbye to Helen we reflect on the sweet and gentle nature of Helen, thanking God for her long and beautiful life. Highland Homemakers sends their heartfelt love and sympathy to the family. Virtual hugs, Mary Washburn on behalf of Highland Homemakers

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