Annie Ruth Black Watkins was born November 13, 1940 to the late J. L. and Annie Oneida (Baptist) Black in DeSoto County Mississippi; but grew up in Capleville, Tennessee. Life in St. Louis, Mo. began in July, 1967. She made her transition on January 31, 2021.
At the age of 10 years she saw the need to publicly express her personal relationship with and reliance upon God. Annie united with Oakville Missionary Baptist Church under the pastorate of the late Rev. H. J. Thompson. The spiritual guidance of loving parents, grandparents and community members enabled her to grow and flourish as an extremely intelligent, responsible and dependable young lady. She became a member of Ephesus M. B. Church (presently "The Afrikan Village- Temple #1) she served in many capacities: Youth Director, Sunday School Teacher, Director of Christian Education, Hospitality Chairperson, Sick Committee member, Bereavement Chairperson, Ordained as a Deacon, Historian, and Elder's Council.
Education in the Shelby County Public School system in Tenn. led to her matriculation at Tennessee A.& I. State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1962 and a Master of Science degree in Science Education in 1964. Post-Graduate study was done at Southern Illinois University; University of Missouri-St. Louis (General Administrative Credentials: (Missouri and Illinois); Northwestern University's Early Man Scholars Program in Archeology where she helped to dig "The Audrey Site" in Kampsville, Illinois; George Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee (Steady State Physics). The University of California at Berkeley as a SEPUP Fellow; Monsanto Company as a Research Assistants Fellow; Trade Waste Incineration as a Teacher Intern; Region 7 Coordinator for The Illinois Academic Decathlon and a part-time Bank Teller for Bank of America.
Married to the late Charles Watkins, for "thirty-two brief years" as she often described it after his untimely death in 1995, to this union two loving, and gracious children (Darryll Charles Watkins and Djuana Chaunette Baer) were born.
Teaching the Physical Sciences was her specialty and/or profession; but "touching lives and enjoying it" was her philosophy. In District 189, she served as the first African American chairperson for the Science Department and as Academic Coach and Assistant Girls Basketball Coach. She served the District well and was named as "Master Teacher"; nominated for The Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching and was honored with a Mayoral Proclamation upon her retirement, as well as being a member of Who's Who in American Education. She retired from teaching in 1997 from East St. Louis Senior High School after contributing 33 years to the field of Education with over 10,000 minds empowered and multiplying exponentially. Keenly aware of the fact that "God Is".., she faced all endeavors with confidence and faith; assured that God's omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence were sufficient to achieve whatever is efficaciously predestined in life.
In her community, she served on many committees on a volunteer basis. As a VITA worker, she assisted the elderly with Income Tax preparation and as an Election Judge.
She leaves a legacy of love, dedication, teaching, touching lives, caring and sharing fond memories to be cherished by her son and daughter in-law Darryll (Tammi) Watkins of Olathe, Kansas, a daughter and son in-law Djuana (Michael) Baer of Ballwin, Mo.; four (4) precious and beloved grandchildren Ashley (Scott) and Parker (LaKeta) Watkins, Alexandria and Ryne Baer. Four (4) siblings who preceded her in death (Melvia, Horace, Ellis, Phyllis) a sister, Shirley Myers of Memphis, Tenn.; a brother Barney Black of Memphis, Tenn.; three loyal sisters -in-law Beverly Taylor (the late Ernest Sr), Shirley A. Watkins of Nashville, Tenn. and Mattie V. Jones (the late Charlie) of Columbia, Tenn. ; one brother-in law Ronald T. (Cochita) Watkins of Mt. Pleasant, Tenn.; a number of aunts-in-law, cousins, nieces, nephews, colleagues, former students, friends, neighbors and members of the Afrikan Village.