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1920 - 2013 |
James R. Watson, Jr., 92, passed away peacefully on October 1, 2013. He was born on December 24, 1920 to James R. Watson, Sr. and Lillie Cain Watson in Leesville, LA, where he lived until graduating from Leesville High in 1937. In 1941 he enrolled in Texas A&M and served as a bombardier for the 8th Air Force in
. He was injured during his 13th mission, but completed his bombing run even after being hit by shrapnel, for which he received the
and the Silver Star. After the war he returned to A&M and finished his undergraduate degree, and then went on to Penn State where he earn a Doctorate degree, specializing in Turfgrass Management. He returned to Texas A&M as an assistant professor until he went to work for Toro in 1952.
Dr. Watson worked for Toro 46 years until his retirement in 1998, and continued to consult for many years after retirement. During his years at Toro, he did extensive research in the turfgrass area, and authored well over 400 article on turfgrass care and management, water conservation, cultural practices and other areas of interest to the turfgrass industry. As a Vice President, Customer Relations and Agronomist, his work encompassed the areas of equipment development and evaluation, customer relations and agronomic consultation.
Jim was a frequent lecturer at national and international turfgrass conferences. He was a leading proponent of the critical need to conserve water, utilize waste waters and evaluate the role of water in turfgrass care and management, as well as the need for development and use of drought and salinity tolerant turfgrasses.
During his career he consulted for most of the major athletic fields and golf courses in the United States. In 1994, he was responsible for the fields at all nine venues of the World Cup. Jim was the recipient of every major award in the turfgrass field and related industries. He, also, served on many boards, and was a member of numerous local, state and regional turfgrass associations. He served to enhance communication between the business community and the research and academic arenas of the turfgrass industry.
In 1943 he married his wife, Audrey. They had been married 70 years at the time of his passing. He was preceded in death by one brother, Edward (Imelda) Watson and two sisters, Doris(Norm) Krupsky and Tommye (Bill) Mayer. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his two children, Rick (Mary Ellen) Watson and Betsy (Jerry) Galles. Five grandchildren; Scott (Cheyenne), Bryan (Alesha), and Andy Watson, Kim (Warren) Youmans, and Erin (Tyler) Haynes, and 4 great-grandchildren; Grace and Luke Watson, Aiden and Addison Youmans. Two sisters; Marion(Pete) Hendricks and Marie(Frank) Hyde, and numerous nephews and nieces. He was the patriarch of his immediate and extended family and rarely missed a family gathering. He left a large void in our hearts and will be greatly missed.
A celebration of his life will be held at the Holly Creek Fellowship Hall on October 26, at 11:00 AM. 5500 E. Peakview, Centennial, CO. Memorial donations may be made to a charity of the donors' choice.
Published in Denver Post on Oct. 20, 2013
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