Maida LaVerne Watkins of Yukon passed away at age 85 on Tuesday, February 8,2011, at Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City.

She was born Maida LaVerne Exum, the second of two children to AB. Exum and Audrey Exum of Ralls, Texas, on May 12, 1926.

Shortly after completing her sophomore year at West Texas State University, she married James A Watkins of Princeton, Indiana, a World War II veteran and former POW who survived Stalag-17B in Austria.

LaVerne and Jim raised four children during his Air Force career.

LaVerne would light up a room. She loved people, and they easily returned the affection. She was a devoted wife, a loving mother and a friend to many. She loved music and dancing. LaVerne was the classic farmer's daughter. She was raised on her parents' farm on the South Plains and steeled against the challenges of farm life during the Depression. She learned how to ride, shoot and fend for herself. These skills served her well, and helped make her the unique, beautiful, and memorable woman she was.

Survivors include four children: Mark Watkins of Tulsa, David Watkins of Wichita, KS, Sara Ramo of Studio City, CA, and Pete Watkins of Yukon; five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 61 years, Capt. James A Watkins (USAF¨ retired).

Family and friends will celebrate her life at 2 p.m. on Sunday, February 13, 2011, at Smith & Turner Mortuary Chapel. Interment, with Jimís cremains included, will follow at Yukon Cemetery.