Transportation 10

Terry Watkins

December 20, 2023

Terry Watkins Obituary

Charles Terry Watkins, age 89 of Forest City died Wednesday, December 20, 2023, at his residence.  Terry was born on September 28, 1934, in Forest City and was the son of the late Charles and Nell Westbrook Watkins.   Terry grew up in Forest City and was a graduate of Cool Springs High School and he attended Brevard College.  His interest in cars began at an early age working with his father at Charles Watkins Auto Exchange, a business he later grew into one of the largest pre-owned auto dealerships in the area. 

The dealership on West Main Street expanded over the years to include Watkins Truck Center, Watkins Recon operation as well as Watkins Service Center. He also operated Watkins Properties and Watkins Car Rental.  He retired as President and CEO of Watkins Automobiles.  He was well known in automotive circles and was once the largest buyer at both the Statesville and Carolina Auto Auctions. 

Terry had a great love for Forest City and was a generous supporter of the growth of the town.  He purchased and redeveloped several downtown properties which are still in use today.  He was always willing to donate to any local worthy cause when asked. 

He was honored on several occasions for his contributions to the town by the local merchant’s association and the Town of Forest City. He served as Grand Marshall for the annual Christmas Parade and was once called “Mr. Forest City” for his dedication to the betterment of the town.

He was a lifelong member of the First United Methodist Church of Forest City; the Men’s Bible Class and he served on various committees during his lifetime.  He was also a member of the Old Hickory Gun Club. 

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister, Glady Nell Watkins Elliott.

Survivors include his wife of 68 years, Jackie Reepe Watkins of the home, his daughters, Lindsay Watkins West of Charleston, South Carolina, Gaye Watkins Ridenhour and husband Tim of Forest City, and Lisa Watkins Griffith of Forest City, his sister, Joyce Watkins Waters of Forest City, and his three grandsons whom he was most proud of, Turner Watkins West, Dawson Ridenhour and Charles Grey Griffith. There are also several nieces and nephews.

A service from the graveside will be held at 3 o’clock on Saturday, December 23, 2023, at Eternal Hills Memorial Park in Forest City. The Reverend Curtis Goforth of the First United Methodist Church will officiate.  The family will receive friends following the service at the cemetery.

The family respectfully request that memorials be made to the First United Methodist Church, 341 East Main Street, Forest City, North Carolina 28043.

The  Padgett and King Mortuary is in charge of arrangements and an online guest registry is available at

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