Obituary: Hattie Bell Watkins

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. — Mrs. Hattie Bell Cashion Watkins, 98, of Rockingham, died at Rockingham Manor on May 21, 2014.

She was born in Iredell County on February 2, 1916, a daughter of James Lee Cashion and Lois Hethcox Cashion.  She graduated from Hoffman High School in 1933 and attended Flora McDonald College in Red Springs, where she graduated from the School of Business Studies in 1936.

Mrs. Hattie Bell Watkins

Mrs. Hattie Bell Watkins

From 1936-1941, she worked for Ned Covington Insurance Agency on Washington Street in Rockingham.  In 1938, she married William Nealson “Bill” Watkins.  From 1941-1945, she lived in Wilmington, where her husband worked in the shipyards during World War II.

After the war, her family returned to Richmond County, and she worked for local schools, reviewing records of returning GI’s who sought to continue their education.

From 1951-1956, she worked for Congressman C.B. Deane in his local law and insurance office.

Hattie Bell and Bill opened Watkins Auto Sales in Rockingham in 1950.  This business became Watkins Texaco and Rentals in 1971.  The Watkinses were agents for U-Haul rentals and were the first to rent cars in Richmond County.

From 1959-1982, Hattie Bell was the local contracting agent for North Carolina license plates.

Hattie Bell was a longtime member of the First Presbyterian Church in Rockingham.  She sang in the choir for 50 years and served as Deacon, President of the Women of the Church, Sunday school teacher, and Bible leader. She received an Honorary Life Membership from the Women of the Church. For many years, she was a volunteer at Richmond Memorial Hospital.

In addition to her parents, and husband, she was preceded in death by infant twin grandsons in 1974; three brothers, Harris Cashion, Robert Cashion, and J. Lee Cashion; four sisters, Dena Cashion, Ruth McKay, Mary Carter, and Blanche Singleton.

She is survived by a daughter, Winona W. Stewart and husband Jerry; a son, W. Neal Watkins, Jr. and wife Trudy; grandsons, William H. Rainwater and wife Denise of Southport and W. Nealson Watkins, III and wife Kennette of Cary; granddaughter, Stacy Ann Rainwater; great grandchildren, Will Rainwater, Holden Watkins, and Hannah Watkins; and a sister-in-law, Mable Cashion.

A service to celebrate the life of Hattie Bell Watkins will be held 1:00 p.m. Saturday, May  24th at the First Presbyterian Church  in Rockingham with Rev. Dwight Williams officiating.  The family will receive friends immediately after the service.  Burial will be private.

Memorials may be made to the Music Fund of the First Presbyterian Church, 904 Fayetteville Road, Rockingham, NC 28379 or Richmond County Hospice, 1119 US Hwy 1 N., Rockingham, NC  28379.

Watson – King Funeral Home in Rockingham is assisting the Watkins family.   Online condolences may be sent to

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The Pee Dee Post
Thursday, May 22, 2014

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