James Morris Watkins – ‘Jim’ to his family and friends – grew up in a coal mining community in Monmouthshire, south Wales. His education was interrupted by the Second World War when he joined the Royal Air Force and was posted to Egypt, where he repaired radio transmitters for the Allied Forces.
He enjoyed his time in the Middle East, learning much about the people and their culture, developing a life-long liking for dates and figs. During that time he met and fell in love with a lady called Marian Fox who worked in the War Office in London. They were married on New Year’s Day 1949.
After the war Jim studied for and passed his exams to become a Weights & Measure Inspector, so starting a long career in the north-west area. He eventually left the service as Chief Inspector at Stockport on the occasion of the Local Government reorganisation in 1975. He was 51.
He had a lifetime passion for classical music, opera and jazz. He and Marian hosted musical evenings for a Music and Gramophone Club at their home. They raised two daughters, Madeleine and Katherine, and travelled extensively in Europe and North Wales.
Jim started a new chapter of his life when the couple restored two 16th-century cottages in the Llyn Peninsula and settled in Llannor, where they made hallmarked gold and silver jewellery which they sold at local craft fairs. They also hosted concerts at their home, which provided an opportunity for budding classical musicians to practice. These performances blossomed into a series of concerts raising funds to restore their local community centre.
After Marian’s death Jim continued with his jewellery and concerts, making wedding rings for his granddaughter and her husband, and was in the process of making a brooch for Katherine in his final year.
Jim celebrated his 90th birthday in New Orleans while on one of his several trips to America to visit family there. He also had family in London.
Jim has been described as a true gentleman, caring, kind and gentle. He was proudly independent throughout his life yet loved to bring people together to share his appreciation of music, theatre and the arts. His calm serenity was often a guiding influence to friends and family.
The celebration of his life was held at Bangor Crematorium on May 22. Our sympathies go to his daughters and their families.
James Morris Watkins, October 13, 1922 – May 6, 2020.