Death Notices

Donald Warren Watkins
January 20, 2022

donDon Watkins of Jonesboro, Louisiana passed away peacefully on January 20, 2022 after a lengthy decline due to Alzheimer’s disease. He was 75. For three decades, he and his crew welcomed countless customers and friends into his well-regarded restaurants: Danbi’s Pizza and PoBoys, Don’s Steak and Seafood, and Chevy’s, fixtures in their time in downtown Jonesboro. His strong work ethic and generous, cheerful nature inspired many loyal employees, some of whose relationships grew into lifelong friendships and marriages. Don daily fed hungry customers (human and canine alike) and demonstrated caring and service to others with a smile.

Don was born to Minnie and Herschel Watkins in Wyatt, Louisiana in 1946, the third son and second to last of six children. As a young man, he enjoyed caring for animals as a member of the Future Farmers of America and playing on the basketball team at Weston High School under Coach Busbice, who inspired his “hustle” and lifelong enjoyment of the sport.

After graduation in 1964, he enlisted in the US Air Force, where he developed skills as an aero-ground engine repairman, which led to a number of international tours and decorations for his service. While serving in Brazil, he met Ane Cordeiro Dorso, whom he married and returned to the United States to start a family.

Don’s sister, Jacqueline (Jackie or “Dude” to some) and her beloved husband, Danny Faour, would often encourage Don in his entrepreneurial endeavors. In the wake of the oil embargo of 1975, Don scrambled to find his way after Shell Oil suddenly shuttered the gas pumps at the station where he was both head mechanic and proprietor. Danny mentored Don in his first restaurant, a Jonesboro franchise of Danbi’s Pizza and PoBoys. By September of 1975, both Don and Ane had turned a modest building into a warm and vibrant restaurant, offering families a place to enjoy their favorite prepared foods in the evening, and local professionals a place to gather and talk turkey during the day. They worked day and night alongside their hard-working crew, eating family meals in between service and doing their best as both parents and
proprietors.

Their success led to ambitious plans for another restaurant offering delicatessen sandwiches and ice cream downstairs, and an upscale steak and seafood restaurant upstairs: Don’s Steak and Seafood on Polk Avenue. With the aid of friends and family, the location on Polk was transformed into a light and elegant location drawing many new customers for the new offerings. Don worked hard at everything he put his hand to, though the powerful forces of grave family illness and economic recession would prove too much for the restaurant to continue. But you can’t keep a good man down.

After his marriage to Ane ended and his daughter, Julia (Christy) went away to school, Don found his way back to the kitchen in the form of Chevy’s, buoyed by the sweat equity of friends who pitched in with him to transform the former Chevrolet dealership into a kitsch palace of memories and familiar food.

Jonesboro had missed its favorite PoBoys, and were glad to see Don back in the kitchen. It was during this time that his loving wife, Nancy, entered the picture and brought back his hearty laugh and gave him more songs to sing in the kitchen. They were married at Chevy’s and celebrated their union with dear son, Bruce, and friends and family, dancing their first dance to “Mustang Sally”. Nancy shared with Don the same caring and love for animals that would bring many more creatures and adventures into their lives together and brought a love for travel and fun into his life.

Don was also grateful that his beloved brother, Louie, returned home to live near them, as they shared the kind of deep bond that only brothers know, especially as they both now faced declining health and could do with extra support. During this time and to the end of his life, Nancy was a devoted caregiver and did all that was possible to make Don’s life comfortable.

The loss of Louie and elder siblings, Marjorie and Jackie, were very hard for Don and the family. He found comfort in long walks in the great outdoors, gardening, and the care of many creatures — more dogs than one could count, horses, donkeys, cats — and grand-babies. Bruce’s children were a delight to Don and would brighten his life immensely. Don’s granddaughter, Jane Eleanor Davis, brought such joy to her Grampy, and she loved and adored him more with each visit. Don and Nancy would make many trips to California to see the new family and Nancy’s family and enjoy good times with the little ones.

Don is survived by his loving wife, Nancy Ann Melendez Watkins and son Bruce Ulloa, and his children and grandchildren; as well as his daughter, Julia Watkins-Davis, husband Richard FW Davis, and granddaughter Jane Eleanor Davis, of Austin, Texas. He will be sorely missed by his surviving siblings, Janis Brown (Jimmie) and their daughters, Amanda (Joe) Calabrese and Megan (Aaron) Melançon, and his brother, Larry “Bones” Watkins (Mary) and his children, Jason Watkins and Tracy Johnston. Don leaves behind a legacy of wonderful stories, a great many friends and family members who will miss him greatly, and countless lives touched by his good food and his unfailing kindness and generosity in service to others.

A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, February 5, 2022 beginning at 2pm at Siloam Springs Community Church’s covered outdoor pavilion at 809 Siloam Church Road. For the safety of our most vulnerable and immune-compromised friends and family, masking and COVID safety protocols will be observed. Please dress comfortably for weather conditions.

Michael Dean Reed
January 25, 2022

reedMichael Dean Reed passed away on Tuesday, January 25, 2022, in Covington, LA at the age of 70. He was born in New Orleans and resided in Covington, LA. When asked about his profession, he would say “I’m a contractor,” but we all knew him to be so much more.

Michael was meticulous and took pride in building not just houses, but homes with unique characteristics from floor to ceiling. He grew up with a very strong work ethic, was self-taught and was happiest when creating furniture grade cabinetry or beautiful iron works for custom homes. Michael displayed the same passionate enthusiasm in his hobbies and was an avid baseball fan, especially his beloved Astros. He traveled extensively to the Spring training camps in Florida and Arizona yearly and, visiting ball parks throughout the United States and appreciated sports memorabilia of any kind.

In fact, Michael was such a baseball fan that he organized a special group of friends and formed a team and named them A’s baseball team. These friends formed a special friendship with Mike that would last his lifetime. Michael was constant motion, enjoyed motorcycles, loved to snow ski in his younger years and zip lined for the first time mid-sixties. He was a muscle car enthusiast, enjoying Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Auctions, SEMA Car Expos, and Cruisin the Coast. In 2005 Michael was diagnosed with Leukemia although he very seldom complained and through sheer determination and will to live, beat the statistics going on to live life to the fullest for the next 17 years. He believed strongly in family traditions and reveled in the deep connection he had with his grandchildren.

Michael was preceded in death by parents Billie C. and Tommie Johns Reed, mother-in-law Anna LaFrance and sister Patricia Aline Reed. Michael is survived by his loving wife of 45 years Stephanie LaFrance Reed, children Chad Reed and Traci Reed Pfalzgraf and son-in-law Arthur Pfalzgraf, and daughter-in-law Alicia Boyd Reed, adored grandchildren Lola Rose Reed, Lucy Ross Reed, Peyton Michael Pfalzgraf, and Alexa Catherine Pfalzgraf and father-in-law Leo P. LaFrance, Jr. He is also survived by his sisters-in-law, and brothers-in-law, aunts, nieces, nephews, cousins, and other beloved family members and friends.

Relatives and friends of the family are invited to attend Michael’s Funeral Service at The Chapel at First Baptist Church off Highway 21, Covington, LA on Wednesday, February 2, 2022. Visitation begins at 9:00 a.m. and Service begins at 11:00 a.m. Interment will take place on Thursday, February 3, 2022, at 1:00 p.m. at Gayla Traina Memorial Cemetery in Jonesboro, LA.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Co-pay assistance program http://www.lls.org/support, or PAN Foundation http://www.panfoundation.org, or Corporate Angel Network, http://www.corpangelnetwork.org, or Houston Ground Angels, http://www.groundangels.org. Condolences and tributes can be posted at http://www.serenitycovington.com.


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