Margaret Watkins

Public Wake

4:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Monday, February 6, 2023
Edward V. Sullivan Funeral Home
43 Winn Street
Burlington, Massachusetts, United States
Visiting Hours

Funeral Mass

12:00 pm
Tuesday, February 7, 2023
Saint Malachy Church
99 Bedford Street
Burlington, Massachusetts, United States
Funeral Mass


1:15 pm
Tuesday, February 7, 2023
Chestnut Hill Cemetery
Bedford St.
Burlington, Massachusetts, United States

Obituary of Margaret Watkins

Margaret F. (MacDonald) Watkins, former co-owner of Roberts Carpet in Wilmington passed away peacefully at her home after being lovingly cared for by her family for the past several years.  She was 83 years old.  The devoted daughter of Joseph and Mary Jane MacDonald, she was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  The pretty girl next door that friends and family simply called Peggy grew up in Burlington and was a 1957 graduate of Burlington High School.  She married her childhood sweetheart, Robert (Bob) Watkins on January 6, 1958.  They had a wonderful marriage filled with mutual support, a strong bond, and following their vow would love each other in sickness and in health. 

Peggy and Bob were always together and always a team.  They were partners in raising their children and at work.  They worked side by side at their business, Robert’s Carpet, located on Main Street in Wilmington for 35 years.  Peggy handled some of the sales floor and the books.   They were wonderful dancers, the result of years of lessons at the Burlington Recreation Department and being members of a ballroom dancing club in Wilmington.  In their retirement years, they went to Panera’s in Burlington almost every day to have coffee or a snack and visit with friends.

Hampton Beach was a very special place for Peggy and Bob as well.  Although their business was a 6-day a week commitment, their cottage in Hampton Beach was their weekend getaway.  They spent mornings walking the beach, afternoons enjoying the cottage, and evenings going to church, attending concerts, or just appreciating the time spent as a family. 

Peggy and Bob had a strong Catholic faith.  Peggy went to the small original Saint Margaret’s Church on the corner of Winn Street and Center Street.  They were married in new Saint Margaret’s Church and have been active members of Saint Malachy’s Church since its opening in 1963.  Bob and family managed to regularly get Peggy to church up until 2 weeks ago.

Peggy was a wonderful mother to her children.  She made a wonderful home for her family.  Her backyard pool was the gathering spot for her children’s friends and for many summer cookouts.  She loved her children unconditionally and was so proud to see them become strong responsible adults. 

The past two years slowly took away Peggy’s memories, the result of dementia.  But her husband, her family and all the people that loved and supported her allowed her to live in her beloved Burlington and Hampton homes until her passing Friday morning.  Peggy is now at peace.  She will be remembered for her wonderful smile, her stylish ways, and most importantly for the love she showered upon her family and friends.

Peggy was the beloved wife of 65 years of Robert Watkins.  She was the loving mother of Robert Watkins, Jr. and his husband Owen Doherty of Billerica and Linda Watkins and her longtime partner Jimmy Stack of Billerica.  She was the sister of Ronald MacDonald of Burlington, Nancy Flynn of Woburn, and Joseph MacDonald of Nova Scotia.  She was the daughter-in-law of the late Catherine and Harry Watkins.  She was the sister-in-law of Carole Grossi, Ralph Grossi, Irene Watkins, Theresa MacDonald, Joanne MacDonald and the late Joe Flynn and James Watkins.  Peggy was also survived by many nieces, nephews, and friends.

Visiting hours will be held at the Edward V. Sullivan Funeral Home on Monday, February 6 from 4-7 p.m.  The Funeral procession will commence at the Sullivan Funeral Home on Tuesday, February 7 at 11 a.m.  The Mass will be held at noon at the Saint Malachy Church in the Saint Veronica Parish, 99 Bedford Street Burlington, followed by a Christian Burial in Pine Haven Cemetery. 

Memorials in Peggy’s name may be made to St. Veronica Parish, 99 Bedford Street, Burlington, MA 01803.  Use this link to make on-line donations: St Veronica Parish 

For online guestbook and video tribute see

Bob Jr.'s Eulogy

It is a time like this that brings a family and a community together.  It is a time that gets us thinking about our priorities, our purpose, our role in life, and the important role that others play in our life. And so, here we are. Long ago Mary and Joseph had a child.  Actually, they had four children. Joseph and Mary Jane MacDonald started their life on 30 Bedford Street in Burlington. Joe, an airline mechanic, was a quiet handsome man who loved to read and play the fiddle. Mary, with her love of life and unmistakable laugh, could light up any room. Together, they started a family with the bookend boys, Ronnie the oldest son and Joey the youngest son.  And in the middle, the youngest daughter Nancy and the oldest daughter Margaret.  Margaret is my mother.

Margaret met my dad, Bob Watkins in school and there was an instant connection. My mom, better known to her friends & family as Peggy, was a sweet, pretty, pleasant, quiet girl next door, who like Mary Jane, had a love of life. Her smile could light up any room. All the girls wanted her as their girlfriend. The boys wanted her as their dance partner.  But it was my dad she gave her entire heart to, who became her forever dance partner.

With help from Joe and Mary MacDonald, Bob and Peggy started their own life together in a drafty little bungalow, a handyman special, just a few short miles away on 27 County Road. Bob worked nights and fixed up the house during the day and weekends. Peggy turned the house into a home, cooking, cleaning, and taking care of her husband and her two children, my wonderful sister Linda and me. In six short years, they sold the house, bought an unfinished Cape a mile away at 18 Francis Wyman Road, and started it all again, working nights and weekends to improve the house and turn it into a lovely home where they lived happily for 60 years.

  • Did I mention that Peggy was a business tycoon?  Well, not exactly, but she did work as a secretary at John Hancock in Boston, riding the bus into Boston every day when she was younger. And when my dad opened Roberts Carpet in Wilmington, while he was busy fixing up the showroom, selling carpet, unloading trucks, measuring and scheduling work, ma was the co-owner and bookkeeper.  She was always there, helping with sales and making sure all the bills were paid, the paychecks were cut, the state taxes were sent in on time and all the business records were well organized for the accountants.
  • She was also a real estate developer of sorts, as she was good with money and saving money.  Before you knew it, the second floor and basement of the Cape were finished, a large breezeway was attached, then a garage, and a beautiful inground pool for everyone to enjoy in the summer.  And they purchased a cottage in Hampton Beech for us to enjoy all summer, where we could swim, walk the beach and relax.
  • And she also was in the medical profession.  If Peggy saw you with red eyes, a cough or the sniffles, she would want to know all about it.  What were you doing to treat it.  And in her purse, there was always Visine for your red eyes, Excedrin for your aches and pains, an Alka-Seltzer to relieve your cold symptoms and a Tums for your tummy.  One day, when I wasn’t feeling well, of course she rushed over to provide assistance.  I rolled my eyes and said, “For Pete sakes, ma, you should have been a nurse.”  She looked back at me and asked, “What makes you think I couldn’t have been a doctor?”

How many of you have ever seen the move “It’s a Wonderful Life,” a story that centers on George Baily, an ambitious young man with dreams of swimming the seven seas and traveling the world?  But when his brother marches off to war, he has to stay in Bedford Falls, managing his family’s small business, Bailey Savings & Loan.  Then one day, all the money to be deposited in the bank is misplaced.  Stuck in a small town, losing all that money, and afraid of disappointing and failing everyone in his life, he wishes he had never been born.  Then, an unassuming Clarence the Angel appears in a white night-shirt and grants him his horrible wish, to see what life would look like without him.  He realizes how important one life can be, how many lives one life can touch. and how many lives are better because of him.

While the story centers on George Bailey, I think it’s really a story about true love.  And about Mary. Mary, the sweet, kind, quiet, pretty girl next door who dances into George’s life and changes everything.  Mary’s dreams soon become his.  He loves her. He wants to lasso the moon for her.  He buys a drafty old house and fixes it up for her.  They raise a wonderful family together.  And it is Mary Bailey who calls everyone together to support George in his darkest hour. You see, without Mary Bailey, there couldn’t be a George Bailey, just like without Mary, there wouldn’t be a Jesus.  Without Mary Jane MacDonald, there wouldn’t be a Peggy Watkins.  And without Peggy Watkins, there wouldn’t be a Watkins family.

In our wonderful life, Peggy has always been with us.  She danced into our hearts. She worked with us.  She walked the beach with us. She shopped with us, visited us and had coffee with us.  She’s been beside us, behind us, cheering us on, rooting for us, and watching over us, wanting the best for us.  It was always Peggy, who cared for us, always wanting the world to see us as she saw us. She never had an unkind word for any of us. Despite our shortcomings, she saw our promise, she recognized our virtue, and she brought out our goodness. And she was always content in her supporting role, knowing how important she was to each of us.  Our dreams were her dreams.  Our accomplishments were her accomplishments.  Our smiles were her smiles.  She made every day better and our lives richer.

It was always Peggy, that quiet girl next door with kind eyes, a sweet smile and big heart.  A loving daughter and sister, a devoted wife and mother, a caring aunt and cousin, and a best friend.  A businesswoman, a real estate developer and even a doctor.  She could have been anything, but instead, she chose us.  She didn’t just play a supporting role.  In our wonderful life, it’s Peggy Watkins who always was and always will be the star.

Even though her story started and ended on Beford Street in the small town of Burlington, Massachusetts, she touched us all. And today, she calls us together again one last time to help family and friends in need of support. Although there may be a lump in our throat, tears in our eyes and a sadness in our heart, our story, Peggy’s story, has a happy ending.  We now realize just how important one life can be and how wonderful Peggy’s life was. It was always Peggy. Even more than our star, she was an absolute angel.  And they say that every time a bell rings, an angel gets her wings. Well, guess what? Ring-ring-ring. Peggy just got her wings.

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