Bill Watkins
Photo submitted
Nelson “Robbie” Watkins, son of late Cattaraugus County Museum volunteer and trustee William “Bill” Watkins, stands in front of the display case recently dedicated to the memory of his father.

The Cattaraugus County Museum and Research Library announced that it has dedicated one of its display cases to the memory of William G. “Bill” Watkins, a long-time volunteer and member of the museum’s Board of Trustees who passed away in October.

Bill, as he was known to everyone, began volunteering at the museum when it first relocated to Machias in the fall of 2004, shortly after his retirement from Motorola in Arcade. He later joined the Board in 2012.

As a volunteer, his primary self-appointed duty was to cull obituaries from local newspapers to add to a database of file cabinets to assist genealogical researchers. A few years ago, Bill did an inventory and determined that his obituary files had grown to approximately 35,000 entries.

Over the last 15 years, Bill was an institution at the museum, rarely missing a day. He took great pleasure in assisting researchers and loved engaging visitors in conversation.

The case dedicated to Bill’s memory contains a display of pistols that he helped design and assemble when the museum first moved to Machias.
Bill’s son, Nelson “Robbie” Watkins, appreciated the memorial to his father.

“I feel my dad would have been very proud and humbled for being recognized for the contributions he made to the museum,” Watkins said.
The Cattaraugus County Museum is located in the Stone House, 9824 Route 16 in Machias. For more information, call 353-8200 or visit