A memorial service/celebration of life will be held for Garry Hugh Watson on Saturday August 22, 2020 at 1:00 pm at St. Stephen United Methodist Church, 4600 S. Western, Amarillo, Texas, with Pastor Travis Bennett officiating. A reception will follow immediately, approximately 2:00 pm, at the Golding Meadows Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1475, 1401 W. 8th Ave., Amarillo, Texas. Arrangements are by Cox-Rowley Funeral Home. Services will be livestreamed, please visit www.coxrowleyfuneralhome.com and follow the link provided.
On March 21, 2020, Garry Hugh Watson was at home holding hands with the love of his life, Jami, when he shed all his earthly pain and was able to gaze into the face of our Lord. A small graveside service was held Wednesday March 25, 2020 at Llano Cemetery Field of Valor.
Garry entered this world on August 31, 1949 in Amarillo, Texas. He was born to Wesley and Lois Watson and immediately became the apple of their eye. He was a very devoted son to his parents and they loved each other dearly. Wesley and Lois both preceded Garry in death.
He graduated from Palo Duro High School in 1967 and immediately joined the United States Army. Garry received his medical laboratory technician training in San Antonio, Texas. From San Antonio, he moved to California to work on the Presidio military base. Garry was deployed to Vietnam in January 1970 and returned to the United States in August of that year.
Once discharged from the Army, Garry attended the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico and worked as a registered medical laboratory technician at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Garry returned to Amarillo, Texas and began working in the medical laboratory at North West Texas Hospital.
Over the next few years Garry worked at the Pantex Plant, ASARCO, and Owen’s Corning Fiberglass. But his career was at Pantex. Garry worked as a quality assurance technician in the Gas Lab, an engineering associate-senior engineer, senior project engineer, project manager and at his retirement in 2014 he was the readiness review department manager. Garry met and made many lifelong friends over his 38 years at Pantex and he cherished those friendships for the rest of his life.
Garry met Jami Baird Watson while working at Pantex. They celebrated their 32nd anniversary on January 8, 2020 and their love continued to grow and flourish with each passing year.
While working full time, Garry also attended college on a full time basis. Garry graduated from West Texas State University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Master of Science in Industrial Technology. Garry also took mathematics courses at night over the years for fun, while Jami never understood the fun part of math.
Garry was constantly striving to learn and better himself and was a member of many professional organizations over the years, including becoming certified by the American Society of Quality Control, Certified Quality Engineer, obtaining a Chemical Hazard Materials Manager certification, a Certified Safety Professional certification, a Program Manager certification, to name a few. He also received many awards during his tenure at Pantex, including the General Manager Achievement Award, Defense Programs Award of Excellence, Extra Mile Award, Safety Initiative Award from the General Manager (two times), and the Quality Initiative Award.
Garry also encouraged his children to seek their dreams. He assisted the boys in scheduling their classes in order to see their dreams come true. Garry was successful in guiding David to his engineering career, Michael to his law degree and Joey to his enlistment in the Marine Corps. Garry also encouraged and supported Jami in seeking out her passion of attending law school. Though they lived apart for three years to make this dream a reality, Garry was the constant supporter in her accomplishing her dream.
Garry had an adventure filled life. Garry’s goal was to enjoy every day of his life. He was active every day until cancer made that impossible. When Garry embarked on an adventure, he went all in. He played tennis, racquetball, jogging, judo for ten years and became a black belt, scuba diving in several countries, such as Belize, Honduras, and Mexico, becoming both a certified rescue diver and master diver, and riding bicycles in Palo Duro Canyon with friend Norman Butts. But when he was introduced to action pistol shooting, he found his true passion. He loved shooting guns and teaching others to shoot safely. Garry became a licensed concealed carry instructor through the State of Texas and an NRA instructor. Garry loved traveling both in and out of state to and competing in pistol matches over the years. Not only did Garry enjoy all these sports, he encouraged and enabled the entire family to participate, making memories to last a lifetime.
When Garry retired in 2014, he was the happiest and busiest retired person on earth. The only ones more excited were our dogs, Raylan and Jethro, who promptly trained Garry to be at their beck and call. He loved every day and looked forward to the adventures each day would bring. His last adventure was becoming a Gold Legacy Life Member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. Garry served as the Quartermaster of Veterans of Foreign Wars Golding Meadows Post 1475 for the last three years. The VFW enabled him to connect and reconnect with lifelong friends and he enjoyed being the Quartermaster and member up to his death.
Garry’s battle with cancer began shortly after retirement. He met this challenge with all the veracity and tenacity he had. He fought the good fight and even when it became obvious cancer would win the war, he continued to fight each battle with everything he had. He never gave up hope a cure would be forthcoming, if not for him, then for those to follow. He participated in a clinical trial through MD Anderson understanding the risks but wanting to help find a cure. Each time he was asked to provide a sample or participate in a test to help with cancer research, he readily agreed. The family would like to thank Dr. Amber Price for the five and a half years we have had with Garry. Without her medical expertise, Garry knew in his heart he would not have lived till now. Our family owes her more than we can every repay.
Garry was preceded in death by his parents and his in laws, Jim and Frances Baird. Garry is survived by his loving wife Jami, his sons, David Watson of Amarillo, Michael Watson, his wife Melissa and children McKenzie, Carter and Brady, of Coppell, Terry Joseph ‘Joey’ Avey and wife Amy, their son Terry JB Avey, of Amarillo, Amy’s children Cydnie Johnson, her husband Marcus and children Edyn, Everett and Teddy, Eiryn Prifogle, her husband Max and children Alldin, Opal and Tilly, Harrison Miller, all of the Austin area, and Josie Miller of Amarillo; his sister Gwendolyn Watson of Amarillo and her family and his sister by heart, Janice Posey of Amarillo; sister in law, Kathy Larson and husband Billy, of Amarillo, their daughter Randi Glenn and husband Cody, Billy’s son Brandon Larson and wife Nicki and his sons Kolin and Kaden; and his constant companions, Raylan and Jethro, who fretted over him for the past year and were protecting him through his last hours.
Thirty days after Garry went to heaven our big boy Jethro joined him. While this loss was almost too much to bear for Jami and Raylan, it comforts our hearts that Garry is throwing the big red ball for Jethro to fetch on the streets of gold.
Our family would like to thank BSA Hospice of the Southwest for ensuring Garry’s comfort over his last days. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to St. Stephen United Methodist Church, 4600 S. Western, Amarillo, Texas 79109, building fund, as Garry knew how important a spiritual children’s program can be and how much his grandson JB has benefited from this program; or to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Golding Meadows Post 1475, 1401 SW 8th, Amarillo, Texas 79101, as Garry saw firsthand the positive impact this veteran’s organization has on our community. The family would also like to thank Norman and Becky Butts for their tireless support during this time. They enabled Garry to stay active for several months and their love for him touched his heart beyond measure.
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