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Myrtle Valois Ferguson Watkins

Myrtle Valois Ferguson Watkins was a caring wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, sister, aunt and friend. She fell asleep in death peacefully on Sept. 2, at the age of 91. She was the youngest of four siblings, who have preceded her in death, Ellen Conway, Esther Thurston, Bernard Ferguson and Margaret White.

She was born to the late Rebecca “Rebbie” (Billups) and William Ferguson on July 17, 1930, in Hallieford. After graduating from St. Paul University, she married the love of her life the late Robert D. “Bob” Watkins Sr. Together, they had two sons Robert D. II and Zane Bruce Watkins Sr. Valois was a supportive wife and loving mother.

Valois and her late husband were faithful servants of Jehovah for over 65 years. They served as full-time Pioneers for several of those years. Valois treasured the opportunity that was provided by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society in 1971 for Valois and her family to tour Cypress, Greece, France and the Bible Lands in Israel. She enjoyed the support and guidance her faith offered her, assisting her to navigate through many of life’s obstacles.

She often shared with pride her being the first African American teacher at Mergenthaler Vocational Technical School in Baltimore, Maryland. Valois was a skilled seamstress and a teacher of designing and dressmaking. She returned to Virginia and taught at Eureka Elementary School in Keysville. Valois retired and became the caretaker of her beloved mother for many years.

She had precious memories of the love, friendship, and encouragement shown by countless individuals, including the Jones, Burtons, Crutes, Beadles, Edwards, Felkers and Jeffress families. Valois cherished the numerous hours spent in the disciple-making work with her sisters in the faith: Gloria Clayborne, Joyce Lankford, Geneva Wise, Sheila Johnson and the late Geraldine Burton and Kathleen Hinton. She and her dearest best friends, the late Mary Pine and Arlene Leonard, were affectionately called “The Golden Girls.” She loved to go thrift shopping once a month with her niece, Adrienne.

Valois’ words of wisdom were fondly said to her children, family, friends and students: “I can, I shall, and I will,” and “Don’t give up!”

Valois is survived by two sons, Robert D. II in Rosedale, Maryland, and Zane Bruce Sr. in Halliford and former daughters-in-law, Luseane Mafi Vaitohi in Hawaii, Sharon Yvette Watkins in Rosedale, Maryland and beloved the late Shantie Rambissoon. Valois has 13 awesome grandchildren, Sabatre Carol Watkins, Kellei Valois (Christopher) Laistler, Zane Bruce (Pamala) Watkins Jr., Toatele Robert (Marrisa) Watkins, Nathan Paul Watkins, Luseane Anaise Sisiuno “Uno” (Andre) Tailele, Victor Allen William Watkins and Pricilla (William) Buie; 20 great-grandchildren and a host of nieces, nephews and friends. Valois will be missed by all who loved her and by those whose lives she touched.

If so desired, the family request memorial contributions are made to www.JW.org, scroll down to donations and click Worldwide Work, or you may send cards to The Watkins Family at PO Box 70119, Rosedale, MD 21237.