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Ann Marie Watkins, 86, died peacefully in her sleep on Saturday, April 8 at Lake Winona Manor.
Ann was born Ann Marie Chapman on Feb. 27, 1937, to Ernie and Esther Chapman in Sidney, Montana.
After high school, Ann married Dwayne Kemmis and the couple had six children; Stephen, Ron, Greg, Mark, Peggy, and Lisa. The couple would later divorce.
In her 20s and early 30s, Ann worked a series of jobs, including serving as an X-ray technician, a position which would bring her great pride when she had the opportunity to connect with others who worked in the healthcare field. Ann lived in several communities over that time, including Colorado Springs, Colorado, Spokane, Washington, and Sidney, Montana.
Later in life, Ann married Dr. John Watkins, a former schoolmate from Sidney. The couple resided in Phoenix, Arizona, Flagstaff, Arizona, Cody, Wyoming, and Big Rapids, Michigan. The couple had one child together, Peter Watkins. The couple would later divorce.
Ann returned to college in her 50’s, eventually completing a bachelor’s degree in social work from Ferris State University, graduating in 1991. Following graduation from Ferris State, and a training period with the Peace Corps offices in Detroit, Michigan, she served as a volunteer in the Peace Corps, stationed primarily in Ocho Rios and Saint Ann’s parish in Jamaica.
Ann loved to travel and adventure. In many settings, Ann recounted memories of many trips, both foreign and domestic, including travels to France, writing workshops in the Midwest and on the East Coast, and many, many trips in and around the American West. Her favorite weekend activity was reading the Sunday edition of the New York Times and going to the Winona Farmer’s Market. She collected volumes of books and spent many hours a week writing. Ann never met a library she did not like.
As an adult, Ann lived in many places in her life, including Sidney, Montana; Spokane, Washington; Phoenix, Arizona; Eugene, Oregon; Big Rapids, Michigan; Aurora, Illinois; Rochester, Minnesota and her final home, Winona, Minnesota. Her childhood homes included St. Paul, Minnesota, Lambert, Montana, Martha’s Vineyard Island, Massachusetts – where her father Ernie was stationed during World War II - and her hometown of Sidney, Montana.
Ann was preceded in death by her parents, Ernie Chapman (father), and Esther Chapman [Glodowski] (mother); husbands, Dwayne Kemmis, and Dr. John Watkins, and by Stephen Kemmis (son), Ron Kemmis (son), Peggy Paukune (daughter), David ‘Tre’ Bojorquez (grandson).
Ann is survived by Greg Kemmis (son), Mark Kemmis (son, Tucson, Arizona), Lisa Kemmis (daughter, Big Rapids, Michigan), Pete Watkins (son, Winona, Minnesota), and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Ann, and her family, are deeply grateful for the help and assistance offered by the staff of Watkins Manor, Lakeside Manor, and Winona Health over the recent weeks.
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