Betty Jean Watkins, 83, of Elmwood, Illinois, passed away on Saturday, December 14, 2019 at 10:40 P.M. at the Farmington Country Manor. Betty was born on September 18, 1936 in rural Maquon, Illinois, the daughter of Phillip and Pearl (Stewart) Emken. She married Russell Watkins on December 11, 1951 in Burlington, Iowa. She worked for many years as a nurse for OSF St. Francis Hospital in Peoria, Illinois. She also helped stock shelves at the Elmwood IGA. Betty enjoyed playing BINGO and other forms of card games. She and Russell made many trips to Las Vegas and Reno. She also enjoyed crocheting, crossword puzzles, polka dancing, and watching the Chicago Cubs. One of her favorite things to do was spending time on the family farm near London Mills. There she would go fishing, camping, and taking her beloved dog “Emma” for walks. She will be remembered for her fierce love for her family. Betty is survived by her husband, Russell Watkins of Elmwood; daughter, Julie Kay Wherley of Canton; son-in-laws: Jerald Sherman of LaBelle, Florida, Randy Wherley of Lafayette, Indiana; grandchildren: Jason (Lacie) Sherman of Farmington, Melissa (Bart) Heckman of Chicago, Illinois, Mike Wherley of Canton, Adam (Regan) Wherley of Havana, Illinois, Brandon (Chance) Wherley of Lafayette, Indiana; 6 great-grandchildren; 1 great-great-grandchild; brother, David (Claudia) Emken of Yates City; granddaughter-in-law, Shantel Sherman of Fort Madison, Iowa, and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents: Phillip and Pearl Emken; daughter, Betty “Diane” Sherman; grandson, Brian Sherman; and 3 siblings: Dorothy LeMaster, Irene Morse, and Richard Emken. Cremation rites have been accorded with the Hurd-Hendricks Funeral Home and Crematory in Knoxville, Illinois. A celebration of life will be held at a later date. Memorial contributions can be made to the Meals on Wheels program in Elmwood, Illinois.
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