Kenneth Lonnie Watkins

August 26, 1944 ~ December 14, 2021 (age 77)


Kenneth Lonnie Watkins, 77, of Payson, Arizona passed away peacefully at his home on December 14, 2021, after a courageous battle with cancer.  

Kenny was born on August 26, 1944, to Kimzie Griffin Watkins and Dovie Mae (Hefner) Watkins in Phoenix, Arizona.  A 1962 graduate of Payson High School, Kenny excelled at playing basketball.  He went on to study at Phoenix College and received an apprenticeship to study industrial electricity for Arizona Public Service.  He was a U.S. Army veteran and served during Vietnam.  He retired in 1999 from Arizona Public Service as a Sub Foreman and Crew Leader. 

Kenny deeply enjoyed hunting and fishing and being outdoors.  He was passionate about anything sports related, particularly basketball and NASCAR.  He was skilled at making Deer and Elk jerky and had a penchant for creating the perfect nicknames for everyone!

He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister, Virginia Wiley, his brother, Gerald Watkins, and his brothers-in-law, George Wiley and Brad Smith.  

Kenny is survived by his brother Kim (Pat) Watkins, his sisters Lillian (Ted) Pettet and Judy Smith.  His three children, Scott (Jayne) Watkins, Bret (Elizabeth) Watkins, and Melanie (Travis) Ryan.  Kenny was a proud Grandpa to eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.  Chris (Stephanie) Watkins, and their children, Julia, Madelyn, Abigail, and Kathryn.  Lisa (Thomas) Aufdenberg, and their son Jayce.  Chance, Colton, and Elli Watkins. Ethan, Alex, and Logan Ryan.  He also leaves behind many nieces, nephews, and cousins and a special friend, Patty Grauer.  

In keeping with his wishes, there will not be a funeral service, but rather a celebration of life (or a carnival as Kenny would have called it) to be held in the Spring of 2022.  Memorials may be made in his honor to Kenny’s favorite local basketball team, the Payson Unified School District #10 via the web at, click community link, then credit for kids then Basketball or to Hospice Compassus 511 S. Mud Springs Road Payson, AZ 85541 or to the American Cancer Society.  


You can still show your support by sending flowers directly to the family, or by planting a memorial tree in the memory of Kenneth Lonnie Watkins


American Cancer Society
4550 E. Bell Road, Ste:126, Phoenix AZ 85032
Tel: 1-800-227-2345

Hospice Compassus
511 S Mud Springs Rd, Payson AZ 85541
Tel: 1-928-472-6340

Payson Unified School District #10 - Credit for Kids
902 W. Main St., Payson AZ 85541
Tel: 1-928-474-2070

© 2022 Messinger Mortuary. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Accessibility