William Van "Bill" Watson, 70, of Belleville, Ill., born Nov. 2, 1943, in East St. Louis, Ill., to William R. and Genevieve Watson, left us on Wednesday, June 25, 2014.
Bill grew up on a small farm in the Dutch Hollow area where he raised six prize pigs like they were his babies. He spent hours with his grandfather, August, and his father, working on the farm. He had two sisters, Janette and Doris, and two brothers, Gary and John. He attended Mt. Pleasant School and graduated from Belleville Township High School in 1960. He also attended Bailey Technical Institute for diesel and auto mechanics.
Bill had a deep love for driving. He was proficient at commanding performance from any vehicle that he drove. For many years, he drove his own tractor-trailer unit. He took great pride that his family helped to maintain the "Watson & Family Trucking" that was painted on the door of the trucks. Before trucking, he enjoyed drag racing. It was all about getting the most power and speed down the track.
Bill was always a big presence wherever he went. From racing, trucking, dune buggies, motorcycles, car shows, and cruising, everyone had a nickname or running joke with him, and there was always enough time in his day to tell the girls how pretty they were. Bill could always be the life of the conversation, dinner, or party. Even in the last hours of his life, he reminded a friend that "Chevy's suck!" Ford stands for "first on race day."
On Oct. 5, 1963, Bill exchanged vows with his love, Marjorie McAllister, at the First Presbyterian Church in Belleville, Ill. Together they had two children, Gina (40), and Nicholas (42). They lived in east Belleville for many years. Bill and Marge enjoyed 47 years of marriage.
In all of Bill's adventures, his beloved wife Marge was always included. She would cheer, clap, participate, organize, and even drive if needed. They were quite the team together. At 62, Bill retired from Keller in Edwardsville, Ill. He and Marge would travel to Arizona, to Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction, and also Hawaii.
After Marge's passing in 2010, Bill took a driving position with Farm Services. There he reconnected with former drivers and old friends. He enjoyed the camaraderie with his co-workers and never turned down an assignment. He was always willing to work until the job was done, and done correctly. He would tell us, "There is the right way, the wrong way, and the Bill Watson way." In many ways, we can always consider Bill to be "king of the road."
Surviving are his children, Gina (Gregory "Rocky") White, and Nicholas (Kristen) Watson, both of St. Louis, Mo.; two sisters, Janette (Lawrence) Bruce of Park Rapids, Minn., and Doris (Michael) Stark of Belleville, Ill.; and his brother, John Watson of Surfside, S.C.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to
in Memphis, Tenn. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.rennerfh.com.
Visitation: Friends may call from 3 to 8 p.m. Monday, June 30, 2014, at George Renner and Sons Funeral Home, Belleville, Ill.
Funeral: A memorial service will be held at 8 p.m. Monday, June 30, 2014, at the funeral home, with Rev. Jason Durrett officiating.
GEORGE RENNER & SONS FUNERAL HOME, Belleville, Ill.
George Renner & Sons Funeral Home
120 North Illinois Street Belleville, IL 62220
Published in Belleville News-Democrat on June 29, 2014