Class of 1941
Charles H. "Charlie" Watkins, Jr.
Obituary and Editorial Tribute
|Charles Watkins Jr.
Published: Friday, August 19, 2011 11:38 AM CDT
Paris native and O’Charley’s Inc. founder Charles Watkins Jr. died peacefully in his sleep on August 16, 2011, at the age of 87.
Preceded in death by his wife, Johnnie Watkins, he leaves a twin sister, Charlotte Canon of Florence, Ala.; a son, Charles H. (Chuck) Watkins III (Celia) of Nashville, and their three children, Greer, Charlie IV and Caroline; a daughter, Marcie Gemmill, (Steve) of Nashville and their two children, Andrew and Elizabeth; a daughter, Carole Dahlinger, of Nashville, and her two children, Bill and Karin;
Charlie served 20 years in the United States Marine Corps as a pilot and retired as a Major, USMC in 1963 after which he became the Assistant to the Chairman of the Board, Kemmons Wilson, the founder of Holiday Inns of America. He moved his family to Nashville in 1966 to open a Shakey’s Pizza franchise in the Green Hills area which launched a long and colorful entrepreneur career.
Later he founded a publicly held restaurant company Al Hirt’s Sandwich Saloon. He formed O’Charley’s, Inc. in 1971 and opened the first restaurant on 21st Avenue South in Nashville. He sold the company 11 years later and then developed and/or co-developed several other concepts including co-founding Cheeseburger Charley’s with his son in 1988.
Charlie will always be remembered for his engaging spirit and his thoughtful and enthusiastic personality both in business and in his personal relationships. He touched the lives of many individuals, both past employees and young upstarts in business. He was a dear friend to all that knew him. Dr. Robert Crumby and the Rev. Amelia Cannon will officiate. Pallbearers will be Dick Ferrando, John Jay Hooker, Nick Spiva, Nick Hill, Pat Gilmore and Mike Straisinger.
Funeral service will be at 1 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 22, at the Middle Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery, 7931 McCrory Lane, Nashville, Tenn.
Visitation will be on Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011, from 4-7 p.m. at Marshall-Donnelly-Combs Funeral Home. 615-327-1111.
from THE PARIS
August 19, 2011 Edition ~ Used by Permission
Native son began
from THE PARIS
August 17, 2011 Edition ~ Used by Permission
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