Birth Date: 04/25/1924
Deceased Date: 12/11/2019
Ulysses Watkins, Jr. was born on April 25, 1924, in Johnston County, North Carolina to the late Ulysses Watkins, Sr. and Pauline Smith Watkins. He was the eldest of six siblings, five of whom preceded him in death. He attended school at Johnston County Training School in Smithfield, North Carolina.
During his early years, times were hard so he started working after school at a cafe to help the family. He then started working during the summers at the Army and Navy Country Club in Washington, DC. In 1946, he moved to New York for better employment opportunities.
During his time in New York, he met Ernestine Porter. They were married in 1953. To this union, three children were born. The family eventually settled in Queens, New York. To support his family, Ulysses held a variety of jobs, including dishwasher, short-order cook, construction worker, auto body painter, and shipbuilder at the Brooklyn Naval Yard. Ulysses was also an entrepreneur. His business ventures included taxicab owner and driver, landlord, and laundromat owner. He retired from the Metropolitan Transit Authority as a bus mechanic in the early ’90s.
Ulysses (Uly) was a people person who loved a good conversation. He was a father figure to many. He never met a stranger and could spend hours talking to anyone. Ulysses was a sharp dresser. His loves included spending time with family, telling jokes, cooking, working on cars, especially his classic car. He also enjoyed taking road trips, sightseeing, listening to jazz, sharing stories about his life adventures and giving advice. He belonged to the Johnston County Training School Alumni Association and The American Antique Automobile Association. Ulysses was a member of New Hope Lutheran Church and was an active member of the Men’s Club and the Young at Heart.
He leaves to cherish his memory, his loving wife, Ernestine; three children, Alvin Watkins of Rego Park NY, Kenneth Watkins, of Durham NC, and Wanda Watkins Whitney of Lawrenceville GA, five grandchildren, one brother-in-law, one sister-in-law, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives, and friends.
Please visit www.rlsandersfuneralhome.net to leave online condolences.
Thursday, December 19
11:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Sanders Funeral Home Chapel
806 E Market St
Smithfield, NC 27577
Friday, December 20
Selma Memorial Gardens
Selma, NC 27576