FARRELL, Pennsylvania (MyValleyTributes) – A public visitation in honor of Mr. Joel D. Watkins, Jr. will be held Thursday, June 9, 2022 from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. at Greater Mt. Zion COGIC, 1825 Roemer Blvd. in Farrell, Pennsylvania. A musical tribute in his honor will begin at 7:00 p.m.

The family will receive friends on Friday, June 10, 2022 from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. at Wildwood Chapel Church, 2850 Jack Street, Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, followed by the homegoing celebration at 11:00 a.m.

A TIME TO BE BORN: Joel Darin Watkins, Jr. was the first born child to Elder Joel and Evangelist Ane’ Watkins on September 17, 1990 at Sewickley Hospital.

A TIME TO BUILD CHARACTER: From a young age, Joel had a deep love for God, the church and music. From birth, he attended his family’s church, Deliverance Temple Church of God Christ, founded by his grandparents, Drs. James and Viola “Addie” Watkins. After they transitioned, he served under the leadership of his uncle, Pastor Marvin Moreland, Sr. He labored tirelessly and faithfully during his tenure at “Deliverance”. God anointed him as a percussionist at the tender age of two. He was an accomplished musician playing the drums, which was his first love, keys and the organ.

Joel was a 2008 graduate of Aliquippa High School. During his high school career, he enjoyed playing baseball, football and track. At the age of 17, Joel was stricken with a life threatening tumor that was obstructing his airway. The doctors had diagnosed him with Hodgkin Lymphoma. Joel was taken into emergency surgery and the doctors were shocked to find there was no cancer. God had performed a miracle. After high school, Joel attended the Community College of Beaver County but Joel’s passion was always music.

It was that passion that led Joel to travel the region playing for multiple services and groups. Though he often had to spend late nights, he always remained faithful to home. Joel’s unique sound and humble spirit kept him in high demand.

A TIME TO PLANT: He was a proud member of the local music group, “My Brother’s Keeper”. He also played faithfully for the “Freeman Family Workshops”, the Beaver Valley Chapter of GMWA. He was afforded the opportunity to play on several recordings for local artists such as; Jordan Welch and James Ziegler, to name a few. Joel played for many national recording artists such as; Donnie McClurkin, LaShun Pace, Kierra “Kiki” Sheard, Jerome Wiggins, Travis Malloy, Douglas Miller, Alexis Spight and many more. He faithfully served with the Music Department of the First Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of Western Pennsylvania of the Churches of God in Christ for many years. He became a member of the “Crank Squad” with his friends and “brothers”, Pastor Michael Day and David “DJ” Sims.

A TIME TO EMBRACE: In 2013, Joel found a treasure in the city of Farrell, Pennsylvania in the person of Kathleen Glenn. This caused Joel to move from Aliquippa to Farrell, Pennsylvania, where he was welcomed with open arms to Greater Mt. Zion Church of God in Christ under the leadership of Pastor Tyrone and Lady Tracy Steals. On June 4, 2014, Joel and Kathleen were united in Holy Matrimony.

A TIME TO PROGRESS: Joel’s musical talents and gifts allowed him to form musical bonds in this region as well as building his own sound at his local church. He was most proud of being able to serve in ministry alongside his wife and stepson. Joel served as the Minister of Music, with excellence, at Greater Mt. Zion from 2013 until he departed this life.

Although he had many personal struggles, he loved his wife, children, family and most importantly, God.

CELEBRATING HIS LIFE AND LEGACY: Joel leaves to cherish his memory, his loving and devoted wife, Kathleen Watkins; his children, Darian Freeman of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, James Rutledge of Detroit, Michigan, Joel Watkins III and Ja’Miere Watkins, both of Farrell, Pennsylvania; two bonus children, that he loved as his own, Allen-Mychael Jackson “his homie” and Ta’Leah Johnson “his baby girl”; his parents, Elder Joel, Sr. and Evangelist Ane’ Watkins of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania; his siblings, Jaleesa Watkins, Jaclyn Watkins, a special brother, Carlton Smith and Jasmin Watkins; his aunts, Roberta Watkins, Charisse Moreland (Pastor Marvin), Selenna Moreland (Scharon), Dorothy Gill (Ronald) of Chicago, Illinois, Stephanie Norris (Obie) of Sylacauga, Alabama, Michelle McGraw of Jacksonville, Florida, Darlene Whitehead (James) of Calera, Alabama and Mae Kidd of Vincent, Alabama; two uncles, James Watkins (Brenda) of Aliquippa and Stuart Stone of Vincent, Alabama; a niece, Jai Angelique; two nephews, Ja’Seer and Ja’Saan Watkins; childhood friends, Keith Taylor, Tyquan Gilbert, Justin Lindsey and Da’Von Myers; his Godfather, George Gaskins; two special cousins, Elder Marvin Moreland III and Thomas Hannon, Jr.; his mother-in-law, Evangelist Jacqueline Walker; his father-in-law, Elder Richard Walker, Sr.; a band of brothers, Terrill Guyton, Erias Blackwell, Isaiah Jackson and Julius Hines; a host of cousins, friends and the musical community.

A TIME TO MOURN: God called his child home on Tuesday, May 31, 2022.

He was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Drs. James and Viola Watkins; his maternal grandmother, Geraldine Stone; his maternal grandfather, Braxton Wallace; his Godmother, Constance Gaskins and a special aunt, Angelique Watkins.

~Lovingly submitted by the family.

Arrangements handled by J.E. Washington Funeral Services.

Send flowers to the service of Mr. Joel D. Watkins, Jr.

A television tribute will air Wednesday, June 8 at the following approximate times: 5:17 a.m. on WKBN, 8:39 a.m. on FOX, 5:21 p.m. on WYTV and 6:35 p.m. on MyYTV.