Phyllis Ann Meitl Watkins, daughter of Philip G. And Eleanor P. (Kruse) Meitl, was born on August 14, 1949, in Oakley, Kansas, and passed away, February 1, 2018 at the age of 68 after a long and courageous battle with MS. Phyllis grew up in Oakley, Kansas and attended schools there. After graduation in 1967, Phyllis attended St. Mary of the Plains College in Dodge City, KS, and Emporia State University from which she received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education in 1971. After college, Phyllis taught 5th grade for two years at Charles Drew Elementary School in a migrant education program west of Pompano Beach, Florida.
After returning to Kansas, Phyllis married Dan Watkins on October 20, 1973. Phyllis and Dan settled in Lawrence, Kansas where they became the proud parents of four sons. Together with her husband, Phyllis was actively involved in many sports, community, and family activities. Phyllis was easy going and lit up every room she entered. Her laid back nature, however, did not necessarily prevent her strong insistence on having well-mannered and educated sons.
After teaching at Williamsburg Elementary in the Perry-Lecompton School District, Phyllis received a Master of Science Degree in Library Science from Emporia State University in 1977, after which she served as a school librarian in several schools in the Perry-Lecompton and Lawrence School Districts for over 20 years. Throughout her career, collaborating with teachers, Phyllis specialized in setting up libraries in new elementary schools teaching library utilization and technology. Phyllis retired from teaching in 2007.
Phyllis was active in the community serving as a member of the of the Kansas Dental Board, the Lawrence Public Library Board, the Lawrence Boys and Girls Club Board as well as belonging to an MS support group and several book clubs. Phyllis also served an active member of the Lawrence Community and was also president of the Old West Lawrence Association.
Survivors include husband, Dan Watkins, Lawrence, KS; and four sons: Matthew (Tricia) Watkins, Kansas City, KS; Andrew (Belen) Watkins, Quito, Ecuador; Patrick (Kirsten) Watkins, Lawrence, KS and Daniel Joseph (DJ) Watkins, Aspen, CO. Phyllis is also survived by five Watkins grandchildren: Hailey, Sarah, Addison, Owen and Mia. Other survivors include three sisters: Mary (Dick) Robison, Overland Park, KS, Alice (Gary) Schafersman, Drexel, MO; and Janet (Philip) Groves, Prairie Village, KS, and four brothers: John (Claire) Meitl, Elliott City, MD; Jim (Susan) Meitl, Sundry, Alberta, CANADA; Bill (Pam) Meitl, Mulvane, KS; and Alan (Traci) Meitl, St. Louis, MO.
Sisters and Brothers-in-law (the outlaws) include: Bob (Julie) Watkins, Dallas, TX; John (Melissa) Watkins, Lawrence, KS; Marianne (Stan) Magady, Overland Park, KS; Jeanne (Gene) Shinstock, Lincoln, NE; Tom (Kyung) Watkins, SOUTH KOREA; Jim (Ruth) Watkins, Wyong, NSW, AUSTRALIA, Barb Sack & (Gene Hodges), Leawood, KS; Bill (Connie) Watkins, Leawood, KS; Molly (Dan) DiCarlo, Covington, GA; Fran (Neil) Douthat, Mission Hills, KS; David (Theresa) Watkins, Overland Park, KS; and Pat (Shannon) Watkins, Overland Park, KS.
Phyllis is also survived by forty-two nieces and nephews. Phyllis was preceded in death by her parents Phil and Eleanor Meitl, her father-in-law and mother-in-law Daniel and Barbara Watkins her brother, Robert, and sister-in-law Alice Scherzberg and her husband Jim.
The family would especially like to thank Phyllis’ long-time kind and compassionate caregivers – Carolyn, Deidre, and Terri from VNA – and Carol Pilant, Linda Beilman, and Carol Reynolds who spent many hours with her, reading and helping her enjoy life.
A visitation will be held at Warren McElwain Mortuary in Lawrence from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. Sunday, February 4, 2018. All are invited to join the family for fellowship following the visitation in the basement of the Burger Stand at 803 Massachusetts starting at 5:00 p.m.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. John the Evangelist Church at 1234 Kentucky in Lawrence at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, February 5, 2018 with burial to follow at Mt. Calvary Cemetery. A celebration of life will be held at the Cider Gallery following the burial.
Contributions in her memory can be made to the National MS Society or Douglas County Visiting Nurses Association and may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary.