Lela Mae McBride Watkins was born July 17, 1919, in Glenbar, Graham County, AZ, and she passed away March 10, 2020, in Scottsdale, Maricopa County, AZ at the age of 100 years. She is the daughter of Ether McBride and Bertha Almira Carter McBride. Lela was the fourth of their ten children. She attended Gila Jr. College where she studied Home Economics. She was married in 1939 to Julian Parks Watkins, and during their 32 year marriage they had four children: Dr. Jimmie Parks Watkins (Lora), Dr. Ronald Harold Watkins (Lynn), Judith Ann Watkins Allen (Carl), and Gregory Lynn Watkins (Sonya). Jim, Ron, and Greg all live in the Phoenix, AZ area. Judy lives in Centerville, UT.
Lela has 13 grandchildren, 33 great-children, and 1 great-great-grandchild. She has one living sister, Lue McBride McEuen and one living brother, Keith McBride both of whom live in Pima, AZ.
Lela is preceded in death by her parents, Ether and Bertha McBride, sisters: Flora John, Joyce Layton, Elouise Sudekum, Evelyn Jo Hancock-Higgins, brothers: Von McBride, Boyce McBride, and Ted McBride. She is also preceded in death by grandson Ronald Gregory Watkins and great-granddaughter Dannie Jo Watkins.
Lela had a wonderful childhood as she grew up in a loving family. Her grandparents were Mormon Pioneers sent by Brigham Young to colonize southern Arizona, the most notable of whom was Peter Howard McBride. As an adult she was a loving, supportive mother and grandmother. After raising her family, she worked at Strawberry Patch, a maternity boutique. She was the manager at Beehive Clothing for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, retiring at age 70. She also worked for See’s Candies until the age of 80.
Lela was a life-long member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and she was active in the women’s Relief Society Organization, Young Women’s Organization, the Children’s Primary Organization, the Ward Choir, and the Special Interest Group. Lela inherited a beautiful singing voice and musical talent from the McBrides. In her early years, she played the piano. Lela was a happy person who loved to discuss politics, and she had a very quick wit and loved to laugh. She found humor in the rigors of old age. At the age of 100, she still loved wearing make-up and fingernail polish, and she enjoyed having her hair perfectly styled. She also loved to receive the Aaronic Priesthood young men into her home on Sundays in order to receive the sacrament. She did this for the past two years once attending church each Sunday became a challenge.
A viewing will be held on Friday, March 20, 2020, from 6-8 PM at the Messinger Mortuary at 7601 E Indian School Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85251. Her body will be interred at the Pima Cemetery in Pima, AZ. Funeral arrangements are being handled by the Messinger Mortuaries in Scottsdale, AZ.
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