Allen Eugene “Gene” Watson died peacefully at his home in Atascadero, on May 4, 2018, at the age of 84.
Gene was born in Lawton, Okla. on Nov. 2, 1933, to Robert Allen Watson and Lillie E. Cothren Watson. A child of the Dust Bowl era, he and his family migrated west to the southern San Joaquin Valley in 1937 and settled in the Porterville / Earlimart area. He attended elementary schools in that area and graduated from Delano High School. From 1967 to 1974, he furthered his education by taking night classes at Cuesta College.
He was a Korean War era veteran, enlisting in the U. S. Army in 1953, completing Basic Training at Fort Ord. He was stationed at Schofield Barracks, Oahu, Hawaii and Fort Lewis, Wash. before receiving an Honorable Discharge in 1957. Directly following his Army discharge, he enlisted as a full-time California Army National Guard soldier. He was stationed at MATES, East Garrison, Camp Roberts, from 1957 until his Honorable Discharge/retirement in 1993 at the rank of Master Sergeant (MSG). During his career at Camp Roberts, he performed in many capacities, from field artillery repair, wheeled and track transportation repair, supply managing, small arms and automatic firearms repair and inspection. He attended numerous military schools at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. and Fort Lewis, Wash. to hone his expertise in these areas. He was very proud to be a Vietnam War era veteran as well, and knowing any equipment he signed off on would be functional when it arrived for the troops in Vietnam. During his military career, he earned many medals and ribbons for exemplary service. He was a member of several military fraternal organizations, including, but not limited to, American Legion Post 432, 71st Inf. Div., 25th Inf. Div., 40th Inf. Div., 1-149 ARMD and 3rd BDE, 40th Inf. Div.
His life changed forever in 1956 when he met Gloria Negranti at a party in Cayucos. They quickly dated steadily and were married in 1959. They made their first home in Templeton and in 1962, bought the home in Atascadero, which they would remain in for the rest of their lives. They were married for 58 years, and together had three children, Dave, Joy, and JuLee.
Gene enjoyed gardening, bar-be-ques, annual vacations to Dinky Creek, friends, family and his dogs over the years, especially Skipper, Patches (both) and Kalli. He had a knack and a love for drawing/sketching, using mostly pencil and pen and ink. He enjoyed his many collections, Westerns, especially “Gunsmoke” and War movies, with John Wayne being his favorite performer. He very much enjoyed ‘50’s to ‘80’s Country / Western music, dancing and had a very keen, unique sense of humor, he was always the life of the party!
He was a multiple cancer survivor and gallantly dealt with the aftermath of corrective surgeries for over two decades. About a dozen years ago, he was diagnosed with dementia / Alzheimer’s Disease, and with his family’s love, support and caregiving, he was able to manage his daily activities, mostly independently. As recently as three weeks ago, he attended the CAPSLO Day Care Center in Paso Robles, four days a week, and enjoyed his times there.
Gene is survived by his son, Dave (Olivia) Watson of Atascadero, daughters Joyce Watson of Paso Robles and JuLee (Ray) Rocha of Atascadero, nephew Doug (Ruth) Battles of Redway, CA, nieces Nancy (Doug) Cox of Pueblo, Colo., Linda (David) Blackburn of White House, Tenn., grandchildren Melissa Watson of Atascadero, Becky Watson of Atascadero, Nick Weir of Paso Robles, Heidi Weir of Paso Robles and Scottie Yanaga of Paso Robles. He is also survived by brother-in-law Robert Negranti of Morro Bay and several nieces and nephews by marriage.
Gene was preceded in death by his wonderful wife, Gloria Negranti Watson, his parents, Robert and Lillie Watson, sisters Margie (Floyd) Battles, Esther (Frank) Ferguson, brother James Watson, sister June Watson and niece Pamela Battles.
A Funeral Mass will be held on Friday, May 11 at 11 a.m. at St. Rose Catholic Church in Paso Robles, with a Rosary one-half hour before Mass. Burial to follow immediately after Mass at the Morro Bay-Cayucos Cemetery in Cayucos, with Color and Honor Guards attending. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to California Central Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, 3232 S Higuera St, Suite 101A, San Luis Obispo, The CAPSLO Day Care facility in Paso Robles, Central Coast Hospice or any Military or Veteran’s organization, or to any charity of your choice.
Arrangements by Chapel of the Roses, Atascadero, CA.