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John Oliver Watkins Jr. / March 30, 2020

John Oliver Watkins Jr. of South Boston died Friday, March 27, 2020 at his home. He was born in Richmond on Dec. 1, 1948 and was 71 years old. He was the son of the late John Oliver Watkins Sr. and the late Sylvia Jean Oates Watkins.

He was a retired restaurateur, having founded the former Oliver’s Restaurant. In his earlier life, he was a lighting designer for many rock band tours and worked for the likes of Mott the Hoople, Blue Oyster Cult, David Bowie, and Ted Nugent. Some of the lighting concepts he developed are still in use to today. He was a lifelong member of First Presbyterian Church.

Survivors include his companion, Janet Gent of South Boston; two sons, John Oliver “Jack” Watkins and wife Jessi of South Boston, and Edward Banks “Buck” Watkins and wife Taylor of South Boston; one sister, Antoinette Watkins Satterfield and husband Brent of South Boston; six grandchildren, Madison Watkins, Chandler Watkins, Sunny Watkins, Jett Watkins, Kali Lewis, and Laylo Ridgeway; and a special friend, Carl Meadows.

A Celebration of His Life will be held at a later date.

The family is eternally grateful to Sentara Halifax Regional Hospice and asks that any considering memorial donations please consider them at 2204 Wilborn Avenue, South Boston, VA 24592.

Online condolences may be made at

Arrangements are by Powell Funeral Home.

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