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Posted on Feb 8, 2018

Obituary: William M. “Bill” Watson

William M. “Bill” Watson

William M. “Bill” Watson, 89, of Quincy, passed away Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. He was born on July 16, 1928, to Robert W. Watson and LaVinna Christopherson Watson in Eden, Idaho. He was the oldest of three children. The family moved often across the western United States due to his father’s employment.
While attending John Marshall High School in Los Angeles, Calif., he enlisted in the Marine Corps on March 4, 1946, of his senior year. Bill was honorably discharged in May of 1947. He moved to Metaline Falls, where he was able to finish his senior year of high school. After graduating, he enrolled in the University of Idaho at Moscow, where he studied geology and was a promising star on the football team his freshman year. In order to finance the following year at college, Bill had to get a job. He chose construction with his father, learning to be a diamond core drill operator. He liked the tough work, so he decided to continue in dam construction. Bill did preliminary drilling for many dam sites throughout the Pacific Northwest, including the Umatilla Dam, Wells Dam, Bonneville Dam, the Dalles Dam, Dry Falls Dam and Brownlee Dam. He also drilled for the Ohio State Turnpike and the irrigation tunnel through the Frenchman Hills in Washington state.
While working on the Dry Falls Dam in Coulee City, he came to Quincy, where he met Norma Beckemeier. Bill and Norma were married at the now historic Lutheran church in Quincy on Sept. 30, 1950. They eventually settled in Quincy, where Bill started work for the Quincy Lumber Company and started their family.
He started buying farm ground in the 1950s. Bill worked for other farmers to learn farming and to help pay for needed equipment. He advanced from the original 20 acres to quite a few more acres now! In the spring of 1967, Bill and Norma purchased farmland south of town, which included a farmhouse, where they still resided at the time of his passing. Over the years, Bill farmed potatoes, onions, sugar beets, field and sweet corn, peas, beans, carrots, wheat, hay, apples, pears and cherries. He was Conservation Farmer of the year in 1969!
Bill was passionate about civic involvement. Over the years he served the community in many ways. Bill was active in the Quincy JayCees, refereed high school basketball for over 30 years and was a member of the Quincy Rotary Club, where he received the Paul Harris award, served on the Quincy School Board for many years, was president of the Washington Potato Growers Association and president of the National Onion Association. While serving as the Quincy Irrigation District president, he also was on the Grand Coulee Project Hydroelectric Authority, which oversaw the building of several small hydropower plants and the negotiation of power purchase contracts with the cities of Seattle and Tacoma, and the Grant County PUD. Bill was instrumental in bringing to near completion the Quincy Columbia Basin Irrigation District. He was on the Washington State Water Resource Association board of directors, which provides service to nearly all the public irrigation districts in the state of Washington. At the time of his passing, Bill was the president of the congregation at their church, Christ the Savior Lutheran Church, in George.
Bill enjoyed traveling with his family and taking his grandchildren on trips. He was an avid golfer, hunter and fisherman. Bill lived to see his first great-grandson born last fall, who is named Will, after him. Bill was always known to have a good story, a witty one-liner, followed by a great chuckle and a twinkle in his eye. We miss him so much already.
Bill is survived by: his wife of over 67 years, Norma; his three daughters, Christine Watson, of Mountain Home, Idaho, Jody (Steve) Lund, of Quincy, and Billie Jean Watson, of Ephrata; his four grandchildren, Jacqueline “JJ” (Tyson) Sturza, of Connell, and Steven Skylar and Robert Lund, both of Quincy; one great-grandson William Sturza, of Connell; his brother, Richard (Jan) Watson, of Tuscon, Ariz.; a sister, JoAnn (Quentin) Hansom; sister-in-law Lana Fischer, of Lake Chelan; and many nieces and nephews, including Warren (Daphne) Beckemeier, of Quincy, and Pat (Sam) Coumbs, of Puyallup.
Bill’s Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018, at 11 a.m. at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 716 Third Ave. SE, Quincy. Coffee and desserts will be served following the service.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to any of the following: Christ the Savior Lutheran church in George, the Rotary scholarship fund, Quincy Valley Historical Society and museum, and/or Cancer Can’t non-profit.
Please leave a memory for the family or sign their online guestbook at www.scharbachs.com. Scharbach’s Columbia Funeral Chapel, Quincy, is assisting the family with arrangements.

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