Dr. John William Watson (“Billy”, “Doc”) passed away on March 11, 2020 at Edgewater Vitas Hospice in Mt. Dora, Florida. He was 89 and lived in Hampton, Virginia for most of his life until recently moving to the Villages, Florida.
He was born in Hampton on May 16, 1930, the son of the late Raymond W. Watson and Cora Thelma Watson. He spent his youth on the ballfields of Armstrong school in the Wythe section of Hampton. After graduating from Hampton High School in 1947, Billy entered the Newport News Shipbuilding Apprentice School and worked in the machine shop. He lettered in both track (proud to have run a 9.9 second 100 -yard dash) and football before graduating in 1952.
With his young family in tow, Billy then attended 2 years of undergraduate at Virginia Tech and the University of Georgia before being accepted early into Georgia’s School of Veterinary Medicine. Graduating in 1959, he returned to Virginia to practice veterinary medicine. In 1961, with the construction skills of his father and brother-in-law Sody, and while working the graveyard shift at the shipyard, Billy built and and opened Hampton Veterinary Clinic. He successfully operated it for 52 years until his retirement at age 82 in 2013.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother Raymond W. Watson, Jr. (Barbara Chase), his sister Mary E. Watson Smith (E. M. Smith, Jr. (Sody)), and his infant sister Virginia Lee.
Billy is survived by: his wife Debra Elizabeth White Watson; his son John W. Watson Jr. of Hampton, VA; his daughter Lynn A. Watson Fisher (Brian) of Williamsburg, VA; grandchildren John W. Watson III of Chicago, IL, Lanie M. Watson of Hampton, VA, Samantha L. Fisher of Lexington Park, MD, and Victoria A. Fisher of Williamsburg, VA; his niece Joy Smith Long (Bruce) of Gloucester, VA; his nephews, Craig A. Smith (Christy) of Newport News, VA, and Thomas Watson of Palau; his brother-in-law Richard H. White of N.Y., N.Y.; his golden retrievers Katy and Roxie; and numerous cousins, grand nieces and nephews.
Billy lived life to the max and was a kind, generous man of high moral character. He loved taking care of animals at his clinic and helping others in need. He never turned away a client who had a sick animal even when they could not afford to pay.
Billy loved his wife, daughter, son, and family dearly. He was a giving individual and would do anything to help another person in need. He loved being with his friends whether it was socializing at the bars in downtown Hampton, playing gin rummy at lunch time with his friends at James River Country Club, or playing tennis at Hilton Tennis Club or Centre Court. He was an avid tennis player and thoroughly enjoyed the competitiveness of the game and most importantly the many friendships made on and off the court. All will miss his wide smile and presence.
The family would like to thank the following doctors and medical staff for exceptional care in recent years and most importantly their friendship: in DC–Dr. Elliot Aleskow, Dr. Stephanie Aleskow Stein, Dr. Scott Shapiro, Dr. Jeremy Marcus, Frita Boyd, and DuPont Circle Fresenius Kidney Care; and in Florida–Dr. John Hayes, Judy Curry, and Lady Lake Fresenius Kidney Care.
Donations may be offered to Heritage Humane Society 430 Waller Mill Road, Williamsburg, VA 23185.
A memorial service will take place at a later date.