Cover photo for Bill Watkins's Obituary
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Bill Watkins

February 20, 1950 — April 4, 2023

Bill Watkins

Augusta, Ga.- William Clayborne Watkins passed away peacefully April 4, 2023.

Bill was born February 22, 1950 in Richmond, Virginia to the late Nancy Hardwick.

Augusta became Bill’s home when he moved here with his family during his 3rd grade year. A graduate of The Academy of Richmond County, his service in The United States Army coincided simultaneously with graduation for The Class of 1968.

After service to his country, Bill was a proud member of Union Sheet Metal Workers Local 85- Atlanta, Ga. He was most well-known for his establishment The Sports Center on Broad Street in downtown Augusta which he ran with his wife of 42 years, Sandi L. Watkins, and their children who grew up in the business. Bill was also one of the first white club caddies at Augusta National, where he enjoyed a special friendship and camaraderie with the original caddies. His son Travis was the first 2nd generation white caddie at the club.

It was at Sports Center where Bill’s larger than life personality was able to outshine his immense physical stature as a man. His simple recipe was treating customers like family while serving great food, cold beer, good times, and good cheer. Many of these customers became friends, and many of these friends became as close as family without the benefit of shared bloodlines.

A natural-born storyteller as only so very few are, Bill loved to hold court with The Tall Table Bunch, inserting impeccably timed one-liners and tales into the conversations shared over a cold Miller Lite. An avid sports fan, he enjoyed an occasional wager with friends, and especially enjoyed a spirited game of cards.

Bill often quipped that he couldn’t pick his own father out of a police lineup, having never met nor known him. It was this part of his childhood that led him to be adamant that his children would have a loving, involved father, and his wife the same in a husband. Though the restaurant business required many long hours, he especially enjoyed Sunday meals at TBonz with his family, with the staff and owner of TBonz becoming a second family. His legendary sweet tooth was best exemplified one evening when he asked Sandi “why the tea tasted like it didn’t have any sugar in it?” “Gee, Bill- I don’t know- maybe it has something to do with those two Little Debbie Cookies you just ate!,” she replied with a wink.

A parishioner of The Church of the Most Holy Trinity, Bill was also involved as a member of the Knights of Columbus. An avid fisherman, he enjoyed being a part of The Columbia County River Rats fishing club.

The success found in business allowed Bill the opportunity to travel and enjoy life, but he was famously never away from Augusta and his restaurant for more than 3 days at a time.

In addition to his mother, Bill was predeceased by his brothers Kenny Watkins and Richard Greene, as well as his sister Patty Greene.

Those left to cherish Bill’s memory include his wife, Sandi L. Watkins. Children: Cheri Renee Watkins, Travis Watkins, James Watkins (Lauren Rabler) all of Augusta, and Marylou Frazier (Scott), Bennets Point, SC. Grandchildren James Allen Watkins, Annalail Watkins, and Catherine Louree Frazier. Sister-in-law Sharon Churchwell, and special nieces and nephews, Leslie Churchwell, Tyler (Carrie) Churchwell, Logan (Lisa) Churchwell, and grandnephews Sebastian and Little Logan,

A friend to all, Bill leaves an entire legion of friends too numerous to list.

Generations of Augustans who may not have known Bill personally will recall sitting on Santa’s lap and relaying their Christmas wishes to a man with a perfectly white beard and a striking resemblance to St. Nick himself. If we wish to know what lived inside Bill’s heart, it was incredibly easy to see the Christmas Spirit for more than 30 years when he donned the red suit and made children and adults alike smile during the season.

Graveside services will be held 11am Tuesday April 11th at Westover Memorial Park, 2601 Wheeler Road Augusta Georgia 30904. Friends are invited to call upon the family immediately following the service at The Sports Center 594 Broad Street Augusta Georgia 30901.

In lieu of flowers and in keeping with Bill’s way of life, the family asks that you would buy a meal for your fellow man in need, or extend a helping hand to someone needing one.

True to an Augusta legend and character larger than life, his impeccable timing ensured that news of his death this week is the only story in town bigger than the crowd wondering who slips on this year’s Green Jacket.

All arrangements handled by Thomas Poteet & Son Funeral Directors 214 David Rd., Augusta, GA 30907 (706) 364-8484. Please sign the guestbook at www.thomaspoteet.com
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Bill Watkins, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Graveside

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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Westover Memorial Park

2601 Wheeler Road

, Augusta, GA 30904

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