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Donald Joseph "Joe" Watts

Watts, Donald Joseph "Joe", age 86, passed away December 2, surrounded by loving family that already misses him dearly. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Frances; daughter, Donna Ball and husband Doug; son, Brian and wife Linda; daughter, Judy Bryson and husband Ray; daughter, Lisa Biagetti and husband Mark; daughter, Karen Aleksic and husband Dragan; son, Jeff and wife Trisha; daughter, Bonnie Norman; along with 17 grandchildren; and sisters, Dottie Coker and Virginia Haugen.
Joe, born in Ohio, was a charter member of the Greatest Generation. He served in the Army and the Army Air Corps at the end of World War II, and was a Navy officer during the Korean conflict. In between his service to his country, he earned a degree in Engineering from The Ohio State University. He became an aerospace engineer with Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach, which later became McDonnell Douglas, and later a part of Boeing.
During his 36-year career, he was a highly respected expert in aircraft stress analysis, and was a pioneer in advanced composite materials that revolutionized the construction of civilian and military aircraft. He earned several patents, but was better known as the person to call when a project needed someone who could be counted upon to get it done. He had The Right Stuff.
Joe loved to be active and to compete. He taught his family, not by words, but by example, how to live a full and rewarding life. He was an avid golfer, and also loved bridge, basketball, softball, gin, cribbage, pinochle, crossword puzzles, and pool - to experience competition, to share camaraderie with teammates, and to challenge himself physically and mentally. He was a proud member of a team that won the Senior Softball World Series.
But by far, his proudest life achievements came not from work or sports, but as a husband and dad. He is renown as a teller of Dad Jokes and was always eager to take his family on outings: going to the ice cream stand, playing miniature golf, going on family campouts, and watching the Disneyland fireworks on the spur of the moment after dinner. He could be counted on to prepare the weekly Sunday breakfast feast.
Visitation with friends and family will be Wednesday, December 4, from 5 pm to 9 pm at Heritage Memorial Services, 17712 Beach Boulevard, Huntington Beach, with a rosary beginning at 7:30 pm. The funeral mass will be celebrated on Thursday, December 5, at 10:30 am at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, 17270 Ward Street, Fountain Valley.
In lieu of flowers, friends are invited to make donations to The Wounded Warrior Project or the USO.

Published in Orange County Register on Dec. 5, 2013
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