Cover photo for Ulysses Watkins's Obituary
Ulysses Watkins Profile Photo
1924 Ulysses 2019

Ulysses Watkins

April 25, 1924 — December 11, 2019

Ulysses Watkins, Jr. was born on April 25, 1924 in Johnston County, North Carolina to the late Ulysses Watkins, Sr. and Pauline Smith Watkins. He was the eldest of six siblings, five of whom preceded him in death. He attended school at Johnston County Training School in Smithfield, North Carolina.
During his early years, times were hard so he started working after school at a cafe to help the family. He then started working during the summers at the Army and Navy Country Club in Washington, DC. In 1946, he moved to New York for better employment opportunities.
During his time in New York he met Ernestine Porter. They were married in 1953. To this union, three children were born. The family eventually settled in Queens, New York. To support his family, Ulysses held a variety of jobs, including dishwasher, short order cook, construction worker, auto body painter, and ship builder at the Brooklyn Naval Yard. Ulysses was also an entrepreneur. His business ventures included taxicab owner and driver, landlord, and laundromat owner. He retired from the Metropolitan Transit Authority as a bus mechanic in the early 90's.
Ulysses (Uly) was a people person who loved good conversation. He was a father figure to many. He never met a stranger and could spend hours talking to anyone. Ulysses was a sharp dresser. His loves included spending time with family, telling jokes, cooking, working on cars, especially his classic car. He also enjoyed taking road trips, sightseeing, listening to jazz, sharing stories about his life adventures and giving advice. He belonged to the Johnston County Training School Alumni Association and The American Antique Automobile Association. Ulysses was a member of New Hope Lutheran Church and was an active member of the Men's Club and the Young at Heart.
He leaves to cherish his memory, his loving wife, Ernestine; three children, Alvin Watkins of Rego Park NY, Kenneth Watkins, of Durham NC, and Wanda Watkins Whitney of Lawrenceville GA, five grandchildren, one brother-in-law, one sister-in-law, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends.

Thursday, December 19
11:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Sanders Funeral Home Chapel
806 E Market St
Smithfield, NC 27577
(919) 934-8416

Graveside Service:
Friday, December 20
11:00 AM
Selma Memorial Gardens
Selma, NC 27576
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ulysses Watkins, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, December 19, 2019

11:00am - 6:00 pm (Eastern time)

Sanders Funeral Home Chapel

806 E Market St, Smithfield, NC 27577

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Graveside Service

Friday, December 20, 2019

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Selma Memorial Gardens


Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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