Gardening 03

Janet R. (Vandegrift) Watkins

July 2, 1935 ~ December 3, 2021 (age 86)


Janet R. Vandegrift Watkins, of Little Marsh, PA, passed away on Friday, December 3, 2021, at the Watsontown Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Watsontown, Pa. Born July 2, 1935, Janet was the eldest of three daughters born to Dean and M. Ruth (Heise) Vandegrift. Janet was predeceased by her sister, Wilma. Her youngest sister, Jean, survives.
Janet graduated as a National Honor Society member in the Wellsboro Class of 1953. Following high school, she immediately took a job as a bookkeeper and bank teller at the former Tioga County Savings and Trust Company. That winter, against the advice of friends, she agreed to a blind date on New Year's Eve with a young farmer from Chatham who was attending Penn State. Less than two years later, on November 19, 1955, she and Leslie Reese Watkins were married. They were married for 62 years, until Leslie passed away in March of 2018.
After a short stint in Port Allegheny, Leslie convinced Janet to purchase a small farm back in Chatham. She agreed on two conditions: Electricity and Indoor Plumbing! That began an over six-decade span as an active part of the Little Marsh community.
Along with Jean, Janet is survived by her children: Cindy and Craig Evans of Little Marsh, and Brad and Jo Watkins of Watsontown; six grandchildren: Christopher, Caleb, Curtis and Corrine Evans, and John and Katherine Watkins; one great granddaughter, Quinn; and one great grandson, Andrew; and many nephews and nieces of whom she was very fond.
Janet was active in the Little Marsh United Methodist Church until its demise, where she served many roles, mostly putting her accounting and banking skills to use as Treasurer. While the children were young, she worked part-time as a truant officer. When the children grew older, she returned to full time work as an Assistant Clerk in the Tioga County Register and Recorder's Office, for 16 ½ years. She ended her career by being elected as a Tioga County Auditor for 8 years, retiring in 2004. She was also active for many years as a board member of the Tioga County Historical Society.
Janet had a true love of giving; whether it be time, money, or prayer. Her kind and generous spirit was a model for those around her. She loved to laugh, tell a silly joke (which invariably included her laughing at the punch line well before delivery, which made it even funnier), and spend time with loved ones. Her dying wish would be for all of us to work harder to follow her example.
The immediate family will have a private viewing and burial. A celebration of life is being planned for later next year.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent to one of two groups: The Tioga County Historical Society, 120 Main Street, Wellsboro, PA 16901, or the Chatham Township Volunteer Fire Company, 1575 Blair Creek Road, Little Marsh, PA 16950.
Local arrangements are entrusted to Tussey-Mosher Funeral Home, Ltd, 139 Main Street, Wellsboro, PA. To share your memories and sign Janet's guestbook, visit

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