Cover photo for Joanne Davis Watkins's Obituary
Joanne Davis Watkins Profile Photo
1931 Joanne 2023

Joanne Davis Watkins

October 12, 1931 — February 21, 2023


Joanne Davis Watkins of Troy, Alabama, passed into Heaven on February 21, 2023, peacefully and surrounded by family, at 91. Funeral services will be at 2:30pm on Saturday, February 25, 2023, at Green Hills Funeral Home. Visitation is from 1:00-2:15pm. Burial will follow at Green Hills Memorial Cemetery. Joanne was the daughter of the late John Wilson Davis and Vera Willis Davis, and was preceded in death by her husband, Harold Watkins; a son, Troy policeman Steve Watkins; and siblings, Sarah Morgan (Claude), Luverne, Alabama; Billy Davis (Elizabeth), Jacksonville, Florida; Carolyn Babcock (Walt), Denver, Colorado; and Cass Davis (Linda), Huntsville, Alabama. 

Joanne is survived by a brother, Dr. T. Bob Davis (Janis), Dallas, TX; sons, Keith Watkins (Terry), Montgomery; John “Buck” Watkins (Charlotte), Troy; Fred Watkins (Sheri), Troy; and Dave Watkins (Patti), Dothan; grandchildren Brooke Watkins (Lem), Birmingham; Scott Watkins (Jenny), Greenville, SC; Emily Holcombe (Patrick), Nashville, TN; Kevin Watkins, Troy; Jennifer Campbell (Brandon), Parrish, FL; John Jacob "Jake" Watkins, Troy; Hope Watkins, and Haley Watkins, Dothan; and great-grandchildren Gage, Noah, and Hazel Watkins, Greenville SC; and Will and Benjamin Holcombe, Nashville, TN. She is also survived by a host of nieces and nephews all over the country. 

Born at home in Glenwood, Alabama, on October 12, 1931, Joanne graduated from Troy High School in 1949. During her high school career, she represented her school at Girl’s State in 1948 and was Outstanding Citizen of the Class of 1949. She marched in Mr. Herman Moll’s band as a majorette. Married to Harold soon after her graduation, she gave birth to 5 boys from 1951 to 1958, all by the time she was 26. While rearing a large family, Joanne was a gifted bookkeeper for and trusted partner to Harold in the family battery business for over 50 years. Joanne counted as hobbies cooking for large crowds of family and friends from all over the world, travel, and most importantly her faith. Reared in the First Baptist Church of Troy, she became a founding member of God’s Way Baptist Church and served her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ there for the rest of her life in various capacities, including church secretary. She had previously served as secretary of the Salem-Troy Baptist Association for many years while her children were young. 

Joanne’s hobbies did not include movies. The last one she saw in a theater was “Gone with the Wind,” so it was easy to claim that it was her favorite. She loved her “Bobby” and his music, which was almost a hobby for her. On Sundays, she would start her cooking long before church services started; then keep the nursery at Sunday School, attend services, and run home to feed a dozen or more, all by 1 p.m. If she had a real hobby, that was it. Her creamed corn (grown by Harold and shucked by various children, grandchildren, and daughters-in-law, and scraped by Joanne) was legendary, as were dumplings, white and zipper peas, cornbread, biscuits, roast beef, chicken delight, and more than one dessert most dinners. (There was no such thing as a “Sunday lunch”). During the week she would often have help from her best friend, Savannah "Apple" Dubose. There were almost always guests, many times from foreign countries, at the table. 

Speaking of guests, Harold and Joanne loved to travel on the road, or by ship or air; but most often they traveled by having guests stay in their home, something they practiced for over 50 years in their marriage. These guests included family members by the dozens over the years. But their home was always open and used as a way-stop for missionaries and other friends from, to name a few countries, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Laos, Lebanon, Libya, Indonesia, China, India, the Philippines, Uganda, Liberia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, India, Nepal, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Sudan and Israel. Along the way, they found time and space for guests to live with them for extended periods: the Barrons, when their house burned; three college student book salesmen for at least 2 summers; Brother Chad Teal for several months before he was married; some cousins and close family friends, including Wiley Lott; and, on at least one occasion, an abused spouse in hiding. In the 1970s, they adopted the extended Luangraj family from Laos, including favorites Kit, and daughters Cindy and Cathy. In later years, it would be hard to find a Sunday without Chinese college students from Troy University at the table. A favorite, adopted by the family, was Kalin Zeng of the Chengdu/Chungking region of China (and who named his first son “Troy”). The Biblical admonition to “be hospitable to one another” was always in full bloom at the Watkins home. 

This is only a sketch of a life of love, influence and service, always well-lived. Joanne’s favorite passage from the (King James) Bible was Psalm 23. But the passage best describing her is in Proverbs 31: “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future. She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and bless her. Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain. But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” And so she is. 

The staff of Green Hills Funeral Home is honored to serve the Watkins family.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Joanne Davis Watkins, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, February 25, 2023

1:00 - 2:15 pm (Central time)

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Celebration of Life

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Starts at 2:30 pm (Central time)


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