We join with the community in mourning the loss and celebrating the life of Dr. W. Curtis Watkins Sr., who passed away Jan. 18 at the age of 87.
Dr. Watkins is universally remembered for his deep kindness, compassion, devotion to duty, and faith. A quiet, humble, self-effacing individual, he is also remembered for a love of sports, particularly baseball, and a droll sense of humor.
But most of all, perhaps, he will be remembered for his unwavering dedication to his professions and absolute devotion to what he saw as his duty, which was the medical care and well-being of this community’s children. Dr. Watkins brought his family to Camden and opened his pediatric practice in 1965. For the next 27 years, he would be the first doctor many in Kershaw County would encounter, in all its potentially frightening context -- shots, physicals, broken bones, childhood illnesses and various and sundry “boo boos” that may sometimes seem less serious to adults, but are very real, serious -- and often very scary -- to young children. And one would be extremely hard-pressed to find a former patient with a negative memory of those experiences. Dr. Watkins had a way of gently guiding those pint-sized patients through the most nerve wracking of experiences.
Dr. Watkins’ secret ingredient -- love -- is probably not so secret, but it can seem lacking these days.
For him, love was as much a part of his professional arsenal as the degrees he earned and the medicines he dispensed. It just didn’t matter who they were or where they were from, they were all his children, period. It also didn’t matter what day of the week or what time of day he was needed; he always responded quickly and graciously, often telling frantic parents calling him after hours to “just come on by the house.”
Indeed, a universal observation people make of Dr. Watkins is that he truly treated every one of his patients as if they were his own children. In a sense, they were.
We are saddened by this loss, but we are grateful to have had a man like Dr. Curtis Watkins with us. His is a life well worth remembering and emulating.