James Robert Watson
Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 3, 2008
Lt. Col. James Robert Watson, 82,
died at home in Mont-gomery on April 15, 2008, surrounded by his family and caregivers. He was predeceased by his parents, William Jackson Watson and Georgia Mixon Watson, both from Georgiana and
Montgomery, and his late wife, Geraldine Arledge Watson, of Chattanooga, Tenn. He is survived by his loving wife Jane Trousdale Watson; three daughters, Lynn Watson Ireland (Robert) of Tuscaloosa, Carol Watson Christian (Steve) of Birmingham, Nancy Watson Thomas (George) of Montgomery and one son, James Robert Watson Jr. (Lisa) of Decatur; two brothers, William Jackson Watson (Gina) of Georgiana and Jerry Carroll Watson (Judy) of McLean, Virginia; 11 grandchildren, Robert Burdette Ireland III (Danielle) of Jackson, Miss., Jeremy Stephen Christian (Rebecca) of Mobile, Phillip Quinn Christian of Birmingham, Jonathan Render Thomas of Montgomery, Virginia Anne Thomas of Montgomery, James Robert Watson III (Jessica), Andrew Samuel Watson, Elizabeth Anne Watson, Matthew Gilbert Watson, Mary Grace Watson and Sarah Faith Watson, all of Decatur, Alabama; two stepchildren, Joseph Turner Porter III and Reginald Goree Porter; two great grandchildren, Olivia Ashland Christian of Birmingham and Emily Daix Ireland of Jackson, Miss., and two nephews, Teddy Watson and Hunter Watson of McLean, Virginia.
Lt. Col. Watson was born in November 25, 1925 in Georgiana. He enlisted in the Marines at the age of 17 during WW II. His extensive combat duty included landing with the third wave at Iwo Jima. He returned home after the war and finished high school in Georgiana High School before attending college at Howard College, now Samford University, in Birmingham. There he met and married Geraldine Arledge Watson.
He was commissioned in the United States Army as a 2nd Lt. and was stationed in Japan at the outbreak of the Korean War. He was among the first to defend South Korea, where he served as company commander. He was awarded three Silver Stars, two Bronze Stars, and three Purple Hearts for his service in Korea. Prior to his retirement in 1968, he volunteered to serve in Viet Nam. He was one of few veterans to serve in WW II, Korea and Viet Nam. Lt. Col. Watson was described by one of his fellow officers as a soldier’s soldier. He went on to say, &uot;When you judged Colonel, you can rest assured that the verdict will state that, here lies a man who saw even more to be done than his duty!&uot;
After his retirement, he became the Executive Director of Southeastern Home Furnishings Association. Later, he and his wife, Jane Trousdale Watson, ran the Carriage House Restaurant and the Colonel’s Rest Bed and Breakfast for many years. They were active members of the Family Motor Coach Association. He had the gift of hospitality and enjoyed having his family and friends around him at all times.
A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, April 19, 2008 at Southern Memorial Funeral Home with Father John-Michael van Dyke officiating. Visitation will be at 2:30 p.m. prior to the service. Donations may be made to the United States Army Aviation Museum Foundation, Inc., APO Box 620610-0610, Fort Rucker, Alabama 36330.