Virgil M. Watts was the ninth child of James Madison and Clara Lowe Watts born on April 26th 1915 in Huntley, Nebraska. Virgil grew up and attended school in Huntley and with a large family of brothers and sisters Virgil was the one organizing his siblings for games or drama events to entertain the family. In high school Virgil played football, basketball, and ran track. He excelled in the high jump and set the state high school record of 5' 111/2". Virgil graduated in 1933 and attended Kearney state college where he again set a record of 6' 11/2". In 1938 and in the midst of a difficult economy Virgil headed for California with hopes of being discovered. He talked his way into a job at Mel's drive in and ultimately ended up managing Fox West Coast Theatres in Van Nuys and Glendale, California. He met many people and perhaps could have stayed in the industry but World War II had broken out in Europe and Virgil enlisted serving in the marines as a drill sergeant from 1942 – 1945. One of his favorite memories was being selected to perform a guard mount for a very important person. Virgil and his platoon put in extra time which paid off because his platoon was featured in a performance for President Roosevelt. Virgil served in Guam and was part of the first invasion of Iwo Jima. Many marines lost their lives in that invasion and Virgil never cared to talk much about it. After the marines Virgil returned to Kearney, Nebraska where he met and married Dorothy Ann Waggoner on March 12, 1947. They moved to Pomona California in 1947 and then to Lodi in 1954. Virgil sold material handling equipment for Farmhand, Clark, and eventually started his own company, Watts Equipment Company in 1967. The company has grown into a prosperous business still operating in the central valley today. Virgil was an avid golfer and long time member of Woodbridge Golf & Country Club, anyone who knew "Virg" knew he liked to have fun.
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Virgil is predeceased by his wife Dorothy who passed away September 27, 1991 and his second wife Idelle who passed away earlier this year. Also by 7 brothers Clarence Howard Watts, Leslie Paul Watts, Orlie William Watts, Lester Benjamin Watts, James Madison Watts V, Lee Otis Watts, Floyd Dowane Watts; As well as 4 sisters Daisy Viola Harris, Frances Pauline Harvey, Martha Evelyn Carty, Betty Louise Travis. Vigil is survived by one sister Mildred Doris Jurovich of Kingman Arizona. He is also survived by his son Brock and wife Marolyn Watts of Woodbridge, grandson Christopher of Santiago, Chile, and granddaughter Lindsey Burnham and her husband Blake Burnham of Temecula, CA. as well as many nieces and nephews.
A Memorial Service will be held on Tuesday November 30th at 11:00am at First United Methodist Church, 200 W. Oak St, Lodi, CA. Following will be a Celebration of Life at Wine & Roses 2505 W. Turner Rd, Lodi, CA. For more information call Leonard Messer at Cherokee Memorial Funeral Home 209-334-9613.
Cherokee Memorial Funeral Home
831 Industrial Way Lodi, CA 95241
Published in Lodi News-Sentinel from Nov. 25 to Dec. 2, 2010