*CORRECTION: The date of Bill Watkins' retirement was incorrect in an earlier version of this story.
COLUMBIA — Kathleen Watkins died on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011, after an eight-year struggle with breast cancer. She was 57.
She was born July 31, 1953, in Columbus, Ohio, to Ed and Jo Kibbee.
She married Bill Watkins on Dec. 29, 1973, and they moved to Columbia to attend MU. After graduation, they moved to Ohio and Illinois before returning to Columbia in 1988.
The couple had four children, all of whom Mrs. Watkins encouraged to become anything they wanted. Mrs. Watkins stayed at home to raise the children and take them to and from their many sports practices. She attended the games, cheering not just for her own children but for everyone on the team.
Bill Watkins is the city manager for Columbia. He has announced plans to retire on March 11*.
Later, when the children were older, Mrs. Watkins began delivering flowers for Schnucks. She enjoyed the work because those who received the flowers were almost always in a good mood.
When her first grandchild, Gabe, was born, she left her job to care for him. Mrs. Watkins also helped care for her granddaughter, Madison.
Mrs. Watkins was a friend to almost everyone she met, whether through her children or the St. Thomas More Newman Center, where she was a parishioner.
Mrs. Watkins was a Mizzou Tigers basketball fan and attended as many home games as she could. She also loved traveling, especially to the beaches of Mexico.
She is survived by her husband, Bill Watkins; her mother, Jo Kibbee of Columbus, Ohio; two brothers, Ed Kibbee of Columbus, Ohio, and Tom Kibbee of St. Louis; two daughters, Kate Gallagher of Colorado and Carrie Watkins of Columbia; a son, Bill Watkins of Kansas City; and four grandchildren, Gabe Watkins, Liam Gallagher, AJ Gallagher and Madison Watkins.
Her son Ken Watkins and her father, Ed Kibbee, died earlier.
Mrs. Watkins donated her body to the MU School of Medicine to allow it to study the effects of cancer on the body.
Services are being scheduled for early March at the Newman Center, 602 Turner Ave.
Memorial contributions may be sent to the mid-Missouri chapter of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, 3301 W. Broadway, Suite C, Columbia, MO 65203.