Woodie L. Watson, 80, a longtime Grassy Butte, N.D. resident died at the Banner Baywood Medical Center in Mesa, Ariz., Monday evening, Dec. 30, 2013.
His remains were returned to North Dakota for funeral services which were held Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014, at the First Lutheran Church in Watford City, N.D. Pastor Rob Favorite officiated and interment was held at Schafer Cemetery in Watford City.
On Sunday, May 28, 1933, in a log cabin, on a ranch in McKenzie County, North Dakota, Woodie and Margaret (Gebhardt) Watson greeted their first son, Woodie Lee. He joined two sisters, Lillian and Lola. He was raised on a farm that was purchased in 1929 by Woodie’s grandfather. They produced grain, garden produce, cattle and sheep. The children soon learned how to work. Woodie began herding sheep at the age of seven. These were the days of the CCC Camps during the years of the Great Depression. Not only did the family provide garden produce to the camps, but Margaret also washed clothes for the boys. Woodie received his early education while living with other families who were close enough to the country school for him to attend. At one time, a teacher lived in the Watson home to provide an education for him. However, work on the ranch came first, ending Woodie’s education after eighth grade.
Love blossomed for Woodie when he met a young lady at a local barn dance. Linda Witt and Woodie were married at the Lutheran Church in Watford City, N.D., on Sept. 26, 1955. A reception was held at the church and 500 people traveled to the ranch to a barn dance. The newlyweds enjoyed a honeymoon in the Black Hills. To this union three children were born; Terry, Deborah and Jody. They have given Woodie and Linda seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren – all of whom he was very proud.
In 1965, they moved to Dickinson, N.D., where Woodie worked for Great Commonwealth Insurance Company and rose to the position of District Manager and then to State Manager. But ranching called them back in 1968. Woodie and Linda moved back to the ranch until 2011 when health reasons caused Woodie to retire. Their son, Terry, now works the family ranch. Linda’s health caused the couple to search for a warmer climate. After traveling all 50 states, they elected to spend the winter months in warm Arizona.
Woodie loved flying; he had his own plane until a few years ago. He also enjoyed reading about flying. He would have told you that the love of his life was his wife, and the family they had together. Even though his children are scattered, he firmly believed that closeness in a family had nothing to do with geography! Family and friends are lucky to have known Woodie. Even though life had not always been easy, Woodie would have told all that it had been a good 58 years of married life. May he rest in peace.
Woodie is survived by his wife, Linda; son, Terry (Pam) Watson of Watford City, N.D., and their children, Melissa (Ron) Sams, and daughter, Julia of Grassy Butte, N.D., Ann (Joe) Haugen of Payallup, Wash., and Kevin (Jennifer) Watson and son, Bridger of Minot, N.D.; daughter, Deborah (Dennis) Bladow of Chandler, Ariz., and great-grandson, Caleb Bladow and their children, Jennifer Bladow (Eric Dick) of Fort Sill, Okla., and Amy (Charles) Jowers of Grovetown, Ga.; and son, Jody (Kim) Watson of Ridgeville, S.C., and children, Bryant (Kellylynn) Watson and children Cole, Samantha and Mason of Schuyler Falls, N.Y., and Kara (Chad) Carter and children, Lilliana, Scott and Alivia of Plattsburg, N.Y.; and sister, Lillian (Leonard) Hoffmann of Watford City, N.D.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Woodie and Margaret Watson; and sister, Lola (Raymond) Kummer.
Friends may share memories and condolences with the family on line at www.fulkersons.com