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Benjamin O. Watkins, Jr.

March 10, 2022

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Dr. Benjamin Orestes "Pete" Watkins, Jr. passed away peacefully at the age of 89 on March 10, 2022. Pete was born on September 26, 1932, in Danville, Virginia. The eldest of three children, he attended Langston High School, graduating in 1949. Pete attended Johnson C. Smith University, graduating in 1953, with a major in Biology and General Science. While at the University, Pete played Varsity basketball for four years and became a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Following his graduation, Pete served in the United States Army and was stationed in Germany. Upon completing his tour of duty, he moved to Washington, DC where he pursued postgraduate studies in Chemistry at Howard University and at American University.

In 1958, following his postgraduate work, Pete matriculated at Howard University College of Dentistry, graduating in 1962. He served on the faculty of the Howard University College of Dentistry from 1962-1964, in the Department of Operative Dentistry. In 1964, Pete opened his private practice on Georgia Avenue in Washington, DC, where he treated patients for over 50 years. In 1961, Pete married Shirley Ann Smallwood at St. Gabriel Catholic Church in Washington.

Pete was a devoted member of the Howard University College of Dentistry Alumni Association, the Johnson C. Smith University Alumni Association, and the University of Virginia Parents Committee. Pete was a member of numerous professional organizations including the American Dental Association, the DC Dental Society, the Robert T. Freeman Dental Society, the National Dental Association, the Academy of General Dentistry, and the Metropolitan Study Club.

Survivors include his wife of 61 years, Shirley Smallwood Watkins; daughter Sheryl Watkins Wilbon (Michael); son Benjamin O. Watkins, III (Natasha); his three beloved grandchildren Benjamin O. Watkins, IV, Nadia Watkins and Matthew Wilbon; sister Consuelo Harris of Cincinnati, Ohio; sister-in-law Mary Katherine "Kit" Watkins of Windermere, Florida, as well as several nieces and nephews and countless friends. He will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Howard University College of Dentistry, in honor of Dr. Benjamin (Pete) Watkins '62.




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Celebration of Life
March 18, 2022

1:00 PM
Columbia Country Club
7900 Connecticut Avenue
Chevy Chase, MD 20815

March 19, 2022

11:00 AM
Lincoln Memorial Cemetery
4001 Suitland Road
Suitland, MD 20746

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