Houma recently bid farewell to a longtime attorney and luminary who spent decades serving the community.


Ken Watkins died June 18, just a couple of weeks shy of his 90th birthday.


The lifelong Houma resident practiced law for over 60 years and even argued and won a case before the U.S. Supreme Court.


After graduating as valedictorian from St. Francis de Sales School, Watkins earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and a doctorate of law from Loyola Law School in New Orleans.


When Watkins wasn’t practicing law he was serving the community and country. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army and served on the Terrebonne Parish Police Jury. In the 1980s, he was president of the Parish Charter Commission, helping to craft the enduring document that helped shift Terrebonne to a consolidated form of government. He was a past president of the Houma-Terrebonne Chamber of Commerce and Terrebonne Parish Bar Association.


Watkins had many clients during his decades of law practice, but one of his biggest was the Catholic Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, which he served as chief legal counsel.


"Although I only worked with Ken Watkins for a short time after my arrival in Houma-Thibodaux prior to his retirement, I was blessed to receive his wise legal counsel," said local Bishop Shelton Fabre. "While I greatly appreciated his legal assistance, I was even more appreciative of his great faith. Ken was a pillar of our community and he will be greatly missed. His family remains in my prayers."


Watkins also served as chief legal counsel for the public boards that oversee Terrebonne General Medical Center and the parish’s port in Houma.


He was crowned king of the Krewe of Houmas in 1978 and was a founding member of Ellendale Country Club. Watkins also was a member of the Knights of Columbus and was the first president of the Houma-Terrebonne Rotary Club.


He served on Fletcher Technical Community College’s Foundation Board and was past president of the St. Francis de Sales Elementary and Vandebilt Catholic High boards.


Houma attorney Daniel J. Walker worked with Watkins for over 40 years at the firm Watkins, Walker, Eroche & Hoychick. Watkins was not only a gifted practitioner of the law but a well-balanced human being, Walker said.


"Ken was an honorable man whose life was dedicated to his God, his family, his profession and his friends," Walker said. "He was the consummate family man, lawyer and friend whose life stands for itself as a testimony to his integrity and selfless love. I am honored to have been his friend."


Watkins is survived by his wife, five children and 12 grandchildren.


-- Staff Writer Dan Copp can be reached at 448-7639 or at dan.copp@houmatoday.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanVCopp.