Jesse Francis Watkins, 80 of Anza, died Sunday, Jan. 15, 2006 at home of natural causes.

He was born July 16, 1925 in Decatur, Ill.

Mr. Watkins served in the U.S. Army Air Force from 1943 to 1945 during World War II. He was in the 467th Bomb Group, the 789th Bomb Squadron, serving 23 missions over Berlin.

Mr. Watkins was a POW veteran, decorated with more than two dozen military awards and commemorative medals, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with three bronze clusters, the Legion of Valor and two Purple Hearts.

In 1946, he began his career in real estate. He obtained his broker’s real estate license, followed by insurance broker’s, general contractor’s and public accountant licenses.

He was a member of the Elks, Kiwanis and Lions clubs, and the Anza Board of Realtors. He enjoyed golfing, hunting, flying and following baseball games.

A memorial service was at 1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20 at Miller-Jones Mortuary, San Jacinto Chapel, 165 W. 7th Street, with the Rev. Ed Reitz officiating.

Burial was to be private at Riverside National Cemetery.

Mr. Watkins is survived by his wife of 56 years, Lolita Watkins, three daughters, Darlena Klarer, Linda Jones and Marlene Watkins; three sons, Brent, Lance and Scott; six grandchildren, one great-grandchild; and a sister, Janet Clark.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Jesse and Mary Webb Watkins, and a brother, Rodger, of Arthur, Ill.