On Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020, Leslie Ann Watkins passed away
after a sudden illness in New Braunfels, Texas, at the age of 42.
On March 9, 1978, a miracle child was born to Gayle and Jerry
Watkins in Odessa, Texas. Born with a serious birth defect, Leslie started
defying the odds that day and continued to do so throughout her life. She
defied nearly every prognosis made by every doctor. She not only
survived, but through her faith in her heavenly Father, she thrived! Her
faith coupled with her ‘can do, I will’ attitude aided her
In her accomplishments.
When she was three. Leslie Ann was chosen the be the Easter Seals
poster child for the West Texas Rehab Center. The image of that little bitty
girl on crutches with the sweet face and cotton top captured many hearts!
Leslie attended Buena Vista ISD in Imperial, Texas from kindergarten until
she graduated in 1996. During her senior year she was honored by being
elected Homecoming Queen and Football Sweetheart. She also enjoyed
working on the sidelines on Friday nights as a student athletic trainer. As
an adult, Leslie continued to defy the odds by pursuing and attaining an
associate degree through long distance learning with Global University. On
September 11, 2006, she became a credentialed minister with the
Assemblies of God North Texas District. At the time of her death, she was
enrolled at Global University and was studying to become an Ordained
It seems fitting that on the very day that we proclaim the resurrection
of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, our beloved Leslie Ann got to meet
Jesus face to face! It brings to mind the lyrics of the beautiful song, “I Can
“Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel,
Will I dance for you, Jesus, or in awe of you stand still”?
I think she danced! I think she tossed those crutches aside and she
danced! Leslie loved Jesus, her family, and horses. When she was little,
she loved to ride horseback with Gramps. He was her riding partner and
Granny was her praying partner. She was passionate about sharing Christ
with others and was genuinely concerned for the salvation of all. I think 2
Peter 3:9 is appropriate to share on Leslie’s behalf. “The Lord is not slow
about his promise, as some count slowness, but he is patient toward you,
not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”
Leslie was preceded in death by her Granny and Gramps, Edith and
Leslie Bowman, her Uncle Graham Bowman, her dad, Jerry Watkins, and
Grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Watkins.
She is survived by her mom, Gayle Bowman Stout and husband,
Johnny Stout. She is also survived by her Aunt Maurine and Uncle Gary
Boyd, Aunt Peggy and Uncle Jim Eubank and Aunt Tara Bowman.
She is survived by cousins, Justin Boyd and wife, Melanie, Dillon Boyd,
Josh Eubank, Rachael Eubank, Courtney Bowman Woody and husband,
Lance, Blake Bowman and several other cousins. She is survived by
half-siblings, Wendy Watkins Broyles, Stacy Watkins Hillbrich, Travis
Watkins and one niece and three nephews.
A Celebration of Life will be held on October 10, at 2:00 p.m. at The
First Assembly of God Church in San Angelo, Texas.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7a
In Lieu Of Flowers Please Consider A Donation In Memory Of Leslie
Watkins To …. Chi Alpha % Landon Henry, First Assembly Of God
Church, 1442 Edmund Blvd., San Angelo, Tx 76901
Gary’s tribute to Leslie Ann
If you were there…
If you intersected at any point with the life and times of Leslie Ann Watkins, then you were faced with the reality that this girl was truly a special individual.
If you were there at her birth…
You would have observed the magnitude of her birth defects.
You would have seen the medical staff hustling to save her life.
You would have overheard the doctors saying, “We believe she will not live four days and even if she does by some miracle, she will not be able to carry on any semblance of a normal life.”
If you were there at the beginning as Leslie Ann both survived and grew…
You would have witnessed a heart in this girl and a fighting spirit that would not give up or in.
You would have seen her laugh and smile as she interacted with others.
If you were there at any number of her surgical procedures…
You would have witnessed heroic efforts by teams of specialists.
You would have watched as Leslie Ann adapted to those crutches and other devices as though they were hers from the start.
If you were there after the shunt-device was placed in her head…
You would have realized that she now had an echo chamber in her head.
You would have seen that she could hear things others could not.
It matched her spiritual insight
If you were there as Leslie grew through time and schooling…
You would have encountered a mind that although challenged by disability, roared to life in context.
You would have seen her learn to learn, a different way, her way.
If you were there to witness her private devotion to God…
You would have joined in true worship and real devotion to the God who created her.
You would have seen a person dedicate all she had, with all she could, to learn all she should, in order to continue loving and sharing the Lord Jesus.
If you were there as Leslie answered her call to be a minister…
You would have seen her pray and struggle to complete her courses for certification.
You would have seen her get through it and begin to actively reach out to others.
Many, many others.
If you were there to watch Leslie interface with everyone she came in contact with…
You would have witnessed a person who loved people from her heart; compassionately; deeply.
You would have overheard her care for, share with, talk through, cry with and minister to all sent her way.
If you were there at any other time and place in the adult life of Leslie Ann…
You would know she was all in. All in about life. All in about the Lord Jesus. All in about loving His people.
You would understand that she and her Holy Spirit would come through, survive, thrive…overcome.
Leslie Ann Watkins was not supposed to be here…
Yet she was.
She was not supposed to have intelligent insight...
Yet she did.
She was not supposed to be able to consult with the hurting…
Yet she did so in the power of the Spirit Himself.
She was not supposed to be such a fighter, pushing on no matter what…
Yet she did.
No, Leslie Ann was not supposed to be here…
But she always was.
Now to us, Leslie Ann Watkins is supposed to be here…
And she is not.
Leslie was all in, down here.
Now she is all in with Him, there.
her bundles of burdens are gone.
her problems and pains are gone.
her sores and sufferings are gone.
her grief is gone.
her comfort is complete.
Now we grieve.
Now we hurt.
Now we are disabled.
Now we need help.
Now we need comfort.
If you knew her, you would hear her say now,
“What am I gonna do with you guys.”
She would say we must accept the same comfort, from the same source that she found. Jesus.
The Father of compassion…
The God of comfort.
The Lord Jesus Christ.
Leslie Ann Watkins…
you taught us dedication
you taught us determination
you taught us courage
you taught us strength
you taught us endurance
you taught us patience
you taught us joy
you taught us to care
you taught us ministry
you taught us what really matters
We will never be the same.
We are better because of you.
Rest in the arms of your Lord, until we meet again
…where we will hear you pick up on our last conversation, as though it followed only a comma.