Ronald Watkins

Visitation at Funeral Home

4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Sunday, February 25, 2024
Lawrence Funeral Home
2119 Boston Post Road
Darien, Connecticut, United States

Final Resting Place

Monday, February 26, 2024
Spring Grove Cemetery
41 Hecker Avenue
Darien, Connecticut, United States


10:30 am
Monday, February 26, 2024
St. Thomas More
374 Middlesex Road
Darien, Connecticut, United States

Obituary of Ronald Ray Watkins

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Ronald Ray Watkins of Orchid, Florida and a longtime Darien, Connecticut resident passed away on February 19, 2024. Ron was born in Argyle, Wisconsin on October 8, 1935 to the late Mildred and Raymond Watkins.

Ron graduated from Rockford (Illinois) West High School in 1953 and attended the University of Illinois, graduating in 1957 with a degree in Civil Engineering. Following graduation he served as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, based in Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. After his honorable discharge from the Army in 1959, he worked for a brief time as a Civil Engineer in the Chicago area before joining the IBM Corporation as a Marketing Representative in 1960. Attending night school, Ron earned a Juris Doctor degree from Loyola (Chicago) Law School. At IBM he worked his way up through key management and executive positions in Chicago, St. Louis and Minneapolis. In 1974, Ron moved to the IBM corporate headquarters in Armonk, New York where he became the Executive Assistant to Frank Cary, IBM Chairman and CEO. He later served as the Vice President of Plans and Controls for the Data Processing Division and Group Director of Marketing Administration and Information Systems with responsibility for all internal IBM system operations.

In 1989 Ron started his own company, NewVision Systems Corporation, with the objective of applying document imaging, a developing technology at that time. Working alongside his children he built a team of talented individuals and oversaw the growth of NewVision into one of the leading providers of specialized software for state and local government applications, with operations in eight states. Ron served as NewVision's President until his retirement and sale of the company to Government Brands, now Catalis, in 2020.

Beyond his professional pursuits, Ron had a wide range of interests. He cherished annual fishing trips to Canada, where the catch was walleye pike. Family ski trips to Colorado, Utah, and Vermont saw him fearlessly tackle the toughest trails, be it Stowe's National or Vail's Pepi's Face. He became a pilot, first flying a single engine Beechcraft Debonair and later a twin engine Piper Aztec. From the time he was in college he loved the game of bridge. A spirited competitor, Ron found joy in tennis, paddle tennis , and, most of all, golf. He developed lifelong friendships over the game - mainly at Darien's Wee Burn Country Club and at the Orchid Island Club in Florida.

Family was paramount to Ron. He leaves behind his devoted wife, Margaret (nee Ryan), of 67 years, whom he met as a sophomore at the University of Illinois when Margaret was an Illini freshman. Having traveled to Africa in the 1970s on business it was his dream to take his loved ones on a safari. In celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary Ron and Margaret brought their children and their spouses and six grandchildren to Kenya, camping in the bush, coming close up to Africa's "Big 5" animals, and spending time together around evening campfires. With Ron's subtle orchestration, it was an opportunity for his grandchildren – of wide ranging ages and interests – to bond.

A devoted grandfather, Ron enthusiastically supported his grandchildren's pursuits, attending piano and violin recitals and all of their sporting events. He was a fixture at their baseball, football, and lacrosse games and their biggest cheerleader by the wrestling mat and the MMA octagon, at the hockey rink, on the golf course, and beside the tennis court. His pride in their achievements was immeasurable, offering gentle wisdom in moments of both victory and defeat. Welcoming great grandchildren, Ron continued to revel in family milestones, leaving an indelible mark on his family.

In addition to Margaret, Ron leaves behind his three children; Thomas (Kimberlee) Watkins, Steven (Sara) Watkins and Sheryl Watkins (Patrick) Dunleavy. He also leaves six grandchildren; Kathryn Brickman, Spencer Watkins, Emily Barth, Curtis Watkins, Thomas Dunleavy and Caroline Dunleavy, and two great grandchildren; Elise Brickman and Nolan Brickman. He is the brother of the late Richard Watkins of Rockford, Illinois.

Visitation will be held on Sunday, February 25 from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm at the Lawrence Funeral Home (2119 Boston Post Road, Darien), with funeral services on Monday, February 26 at 10:30 am at St. Thomas More Church (374 Middlesex Road, Darien). Burial will immediately follow at Spring Grove Cemetery (41 Hecker Avenue, Darien). All are welcome 

In lieu of flowers donations in memory of Ronald Watkins may be made to the Faustman Lab or checks may be made payable to “Massachusetts General Hospital – Faustman Research.” Please include “Cure Diabetes Now Fund” and “In memory of Ronald Watkins” in the memo line.  Checks may be mailed to:  

MGH Immunobiology Laboratory
Attn: Dr. Denise Faustman
Massachusetts General Hospital-East
Building 149, 13th Street, CNY-3601
Charlestown, MA 02129

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