Ira Sidney Watts Jr., 78, of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., passed away Tuesday morning at home surrounded by his loving family whom he loved unconditionally.
Ira was born on July 19, 1935, in Winchester, Ky., to the late Mary Viola and Ira Sidney Watts Sr.
He is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 58 years, Mary Virginia Watts; sisters, Ruth Callery, Louise Witt, husband, Billy, and Christine Harper; two sons, Ira Sidney Watts III, wife, Melinda, and Rodney Watts, wife, Mary, and daughter, Kristin Elizabeth Watts, son-in-law, Thomas Martin Hicks; granddaughters, Virginia Denice Cochran, husband, Drew; and two great-grandchildren, Allen Krajacic and Verity Cochran; many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his beloved daughter, Marcia Denice Hicks; and two sisters, Gladene Haggard and Geneva Warnock.
Ira worked on a farm in his teen years until he enlisted in the United States Air Force
. He served his country for 20 years. He worked in aircraft maintenance and supervised squadrons of 400 aircraft mechanics. While in the Air Force, Ira brought his family around the world from Texas, Florida, and California to the Philippines, Japan and back to Florida before he retired. He began his second 20 year career working for Air Force contractors as an electronics technician. He retired from the work force at 60 years of age and enjoyed an active life of travel around the country with his wife, Mary, in their RV. During his retirement, he obtained his private pilot license and continued his love for travel around the country in his Mooney aircraft. Ira also enjoyed hosting special occasions with his family at his home in Fort Walton Beach or at his lake front property in DeFuniak Springs. He was always the life of the party.
He enjoyed woodworking, electronics, keeping up with the latest technology, reading, movies, capturing family celebrations and holidays in pictures and video, college football visiting with friends, and reminiscing. Ira spent countless hours at his many hobbies over the years, leaving his loved ones with beautifully crafted gifts that they will treasure for years. In everything he did, he wasn't happy until his work was perfect.
Visitation will be held Friday, May, 16, from 6 to 8 p.m., at McLaughlin Mortuary, 17 Chestnut Ave., SE, Fort Walton Beach, Fla. Services will take place on Saturday, May, 17, at 11 a.m., with the family receiving friends one hour prior funeral service at McLaughlin Mortuary, 17 Chestnut Avenue S.E., Fort Walton Beach, Fla. Interment, with full Military Honors, will follow after the service at Beal Memorial Cemetery, 316 Beal Pkwy, Fort Walton Beach, Fla.
Expressions of sympathy may be viewed or submitted online at www.McLaughlinMortuary.com.