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GOP loss

The Republican Party is mourning the loss of one of its stalwart supporters.


Tucker Carrington Watkins IV, one-time chair of the 5th District Republican Party and GOP mainstay who worked on the campaigns of Virgil Goode and George Allen, died Saturday at Halifax Regional Hospital.

Just days earlier, Tucker made sure he had cast his ballot in the upcoming election.

Wasn’t that just like him -- taking care of his political business even as he recovered from colon cancer treatment.

Family members said he was fortunate to have a few good weeks weeks at home following his surgery. During this time he got out to see friends and frequent as many political functions as his health would permit.

Just days after leaving the hospital, the 66-year-old diehard Republican spoke at U. S. Senate candidate George Allen’s campaign stop in South Boston as part of Allen’s Virginia Voices Tour.

From his wheelchair, Tucker made brief comments last month in support of Allen’s candidacy. He held a special place in his heart for Allen after serving as his field director in Southside when Allen was a U. S. Senator.

The Halifax County native, who loved his Black Walnut Farm and the Clover community, had political blood coursing through his veins having inherited his passion for the GOP arena from his late father, Dr. William Randolph Watkins. 

Tucker was born in Halifax County on Sept. 30, 1946, the son of the late Dr. Watkins and the late Ruth Porter Watkins.

He attended Virginia Military Institute and served honorably in the U.S. Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

 “We’re all saddened, he was involved in so many things,” said Virginia State Senator Frank Ruff. “He was an outgoing person who made friends easily.  He enjoyed conversation and debate. Everyone who knows him feels a great loss right now.”

Del. James Edmunds II described Tucker as “a consumate gentleman whose political opinions may have differed from some but was always kind and respectful toward everyone.”

We extend our heartfelt condolences to his sister, Ruth Porter Watkins of South Boston; nieces and nephew Melissa Watkins of Goldsboro, N.C.; Mary Garrett and Bob Itin of Philadelphia, Pa.; Mary Tucker and Scott Irby of South Boston; John E. Moore Jr. of Springfield, Mo.; Crimora and David Carter of Greenville, S.C.; Dr. Porter Moore of Nashville, Tn.; Edward Barksdale Watkins of Richmond; John Payne Thrift III of Washington, D.C.; and eight great nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his brother, William R. Watkins Jr.; his sister Louise Watkins Moore; and his nephew, Lt. Col. Willliam R. Watkins III.

Memorial services were held Tuesday at 2 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church with burial following in Oak Ridge Cemetery with military rites.