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Watkins gives away antique dolls

Estacada resident spreads his mothers legacy by gifting her vast collection


by: NEWS PHOTO: SCOTT JORGENSEN - Ray Watkins holds up two dolls depicting the famous Hollywood child actress Shirley Temple. What do Shirley Temple, Mae West, Gary Cooper and members of the British royal family have in common? They were all depicted in rare, antique porcelain dolls recently given away by Estacada resident Pat Watkins.

Watkins, who ran for mayor in the November general election, had essentially inherited the dolls. His mother, Joyce Marjorie Watkins, spent most of her life collecting them.

Like any young girl, she was fascinated by dolls. But because that coincided with the Great Depression, her family was unable to buy any for her.

In her adult life, though, Joyce set about obtaining as many of them as she could.

“It was her obsession,” Ray Watkins said.

Joyce spent around 50 years callecting dolls of all shapes and sizes. Some were about as large as fully grown children and even adults.

“They’re so lifelike and expressive,” Ray Watkins said.

She had her own business, Joy Mars Creations, that did ceramics and made dolls. By the time she died two years ago, Joyce had an impressive collection, up to 10,000.

The dolls sat in big blue tubs inside a storage unit until Watkins and his siblings decided to find homes for them. They agreed to give them away, but not to anybody who would seek to make a profit off of them.

A couple of weeks ago, Watkins pulled his truck up to the storage unit and took 25 of the tubs to work with him. He had received offers to buy them, but opted instead to give the priceless items away as gifts for people to take care of and cherish.

“People were amazed at what we were giving them,” he said. “We made a lot of people happy.”

Some of the dolls could have fetched a hefty price tag, Watkins said, as several came with certificates of authenticity. But it was more important to him to give back to the community.

“This is something our dad would have wanted us to do,” Watkins said. “We all know we did the right thing.”




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