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Sandra C. Watkins, longtime Hempstead lawyer, dead at 60

Sandra C. Watkins, a longtime Hempstead lawyer and a founder of the Black and Hispanic Bar Association of Long Island, died at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset on July 4 of stomach cancer. She was 60 and had lived in Freeport for more than 20 years.

A native of Barbados, Watkins came to the United States in 1969, following in the footsteps of her mother, an educator, and her father, a dentist.

She graduated from The College of New Rochelle in 1980 and received her law degree from the Queens CUNY Law School in 1987.

"Sandra touched the lives of countless clients, lawyers, judges and the community at large through her exemplary legal representation," said her longtime law associate Gerald Wright, the former chairman of the Town of Hempstead Zoning Board of Appeals.

Wright, with whom Watkins had worked with since graduating from law school, said he was a close friend and had been by her side throughout her illness.

"She was humble, compassionate and brilliant - a private person who simply dedicated herself to serving others without fanfare," said her friend Cynthia Diaz. She noted that Watkins had received the Nassau County Bar Association's Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year Award in 1992.

"Sandra worked right up to the end and still has a few [pro bono] cases open," said Miriam Pismeny, who runs Nassau-Suffolk Law Services.

Her survivors include a son, Khari Prescod, of Jamaica, Queens; her former husband, Peter Prescod of Orlando, Fla.; her father, Edmund Watkins, and her sister, Betty Watkins, both of Barbados, and her brother, Andrew Watkins of Austin, Texas.

Viewing will be from 10- 11:30 Friday, followed immediately by a funeral service at Allen AME Shekinah Youth Church in Jamaica, Queens. The body will be cremated Saturday at a private ceremony.

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