Richard P. Watkins, 62, formerly of Southborough


Richard P. WatkinsTampa, FL – Richard Paul Watkins, fondly known as Rick to his family and friends, went to heaven on June 10, 2024, at Tampa General Hospital, with his family by his side.

Born on January 27, 1962, in Framingham, Massachusetts, Rick’s 62 years of life were marked by a remarkable blend of service to his country, love, humor, and an unwavering positive spirit.

Rick grew up in Southboro Massachusetts, the son of the late Warren and Dorothy Watkins, cherished brother of John and his wife Leslie, and shared in the memory of their sister, Donna, who was predeceased in 1957.

He was a loving husband to his devoted wife, Valerie Tegu-Watkins, whom he married later in life on September 1, 2016, after taking “the scenic route” to find his forever sweetheart. His legacy of love continues through his sons, Adrian Watkins and Brandon (Dawn) Watkins, his step-children, Abigale Connor and Patrick Connor. Rick was also a proud grandfather to Brayden Watkins and Autumn Watkins. He held a special place in the hearts of his nieces, Samantha Wright, and Victoria Rousseau.

Rick’s family was the center of his universe, including his many cousins, his former wife and mother of his children, Carol Watkins and his beloved canine companion King Otto Watkins, the best dog in the world.

A graduate of Assabet Valley Vocational High School, Class of 1980, Rick furthered his education at The Community College of The Air Force and humorously claimed to be a “Distinguished Graduate” of the fictional MacGuyver Institute of Technology, a testament to his sense of humor and ability to fix any problem.

Rick’s professional life was dedicated to his country. He enlisted in the United States Air Force in April of 1981, retiring as a respected veteran after 23 years of service, including his time in Italy in support of the war in Bosnia and is a Gulf War Veteran during Desert Shield/Desert Storm. His commitment to his work in the Aerospace Ground Support-AGE/Ground Support Equipment-GSE field spanned 38 years, supporting multiple aircraft platforms. His military career was decorated with numerous honors, including the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal-1OLC, Air Force Achievement Medal-50LC, Air Force Outstanding Award-50LC, and the National Defense Service Medal, among other prestigious recognitions.

Rick’s interests and passions painted the picture of a life lived with vigor and joy. An avid Boston sports fan, he held a special place in his heart for The Boston Bruins. With roots in Southborough, MA, he played ice hockey growing up and later participated in adult Inline Hockey Leagues in Tucson, Arizona. His athletic pursuits did not stop there; he was an enthusiastic runner, at home and during his deployment overseas. Up to 8 miles a day in fact and participated in 5K, 10K and Half Marathons as well as full marathons including the prestigious Boston Marathon and the Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon.

Known for his laid-back lifestyle and the phrase “positive vibes,” Rick could light up any room with his humor. His nimble mind and hands made him a real-life MacGyver, able to tackle and fix any mechanical challenge. He had an insatiable love for war movies and documentaries and could recite episodes of The Three Stooges word for word. A day at the ocean, enjoying seafood with an ice-cold drink, was his idea of paradise.

Rick’s selflessness extended beyond his time on earth; as an organ donor, his final mission in life was to give others a second chance. His generous donation saved the lives of three individuals, allowing them precious time with their loved ones, earning him the title of a true superhero.

Rick Watkins lived a life marked by devotion, laughter, kindness, and an unwavering commitment to others. He told his wife Valerie that she was his everything every day, adored his children, and cherished his family above all else. His legacy is a mosaic of military honor, familial love, hearty laughter, and heroic generosity. He will be deeply missed and forever remembered as the epitome of a life well-lived.

A funeral Mass will be held on Thursday, June 20 at St. Anna Parish in Leominster at 12:00 P.M. with a burial to follow with Military Honors at the Massachusetts Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Winchendon, MA.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made in Rick’s name to Life Link Legacy Fund by either mailing to 9661 Delaney Creek Boulevard, Tampa, Florida 33619 or online at Donations can also be made to Tampa General Hospital Neuroscience/Intensive Care Unit at

Richardson Funeral Home of Leominster assisted with arrangements.

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