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Fr. Clarence Watkins, 79, dies
Father Clarence N. Watkins died July 9 at Inova Alexandria Hospital. He was 79 years old.
Father Watkins was born in Richmond. He attended local schools, graduating from Armstrong High School in 1952 and from Virginia Union University in Richmond in 1960 with a bachelor’s in history and political science.
He converted to Catholicism in 1956.
Father Watkins attended St. Paul’s College in Washington, D.C., where he studied philosophy. In 1963, he entered Christ the King Seminary in Olean, N.Y. He was ordained to the diaconate in 1966 and to the priesthood in 1967 by Richmond Bishop John J. Russell.
His first assignment was as associate pastor of Queen of Apostles Parish in Alexandria from 1967 to 1968. He served as associate pastor of St. James Parish in Falls Church1968-73.
From 1973 to 1990, Father Watkins was an active duty U.S. Air Force chaplain. He served at Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas; Beale Air Force Base, Calif.; Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas; and Arlington National Cemetery. Father Watkins also served at bases in Thailand, Germany, Turkey and Korea.
After returning from active duty in 1990, he was appointed parochial administrator of Queen of Apostles where he served until 1992. From 1992 until his retirement in 2000, Father Watkins was pastor of St. Rita Parish in Alexandria.
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