John Anthony Watson (80) of Annville, Pennsylvania, passed on to his heavenly reward on Saturday, July 30, 2022, after an extended illness. He was preceded in death by his wife of 53 years, Patricia May Watson (nee Kennedy).
John was born in 1942 in Lebanon, Pennsylvania.
He enlisted in the US Air Force as an air traffic controller after graduation from Lebanon Catholic High School and served his country proudly for 24 years, including tours of duty in Spain, Thailand, and Korea. His high school sweetheart, Patricia, and their children traveled with him to Amarillo AFB, Texas, Loring AFB, Maine, McGuire AFB, New Jersey, Wiesbaden, Germany, and Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, where he retired from the USAF as a Chief Master Sergeant. John then worked for Pan Am World Services in Cape Canaveral, Florida, providing launch support for the Space Shuttle Program and, later, The Titan Rocket Program in The Marshall Islands. John also worked as Director of Quality Assurance for Johnson Controls and Director of Development for Sodexo Healthcare Facility Solutions for many years achieving ASQ certification as a Six Sigma Black Belt for his expertise in Lean processes. John was known and respected for his sharp mind, strong work ethic, leadership, mentorship, and integrity.
In addition to John’s service to his country, clients, and coworkers, he will be remembered for his love of his family, wise advice, selflessness, love of history and gardening, sense of humor, patriotism, faith, and respect for all human life, born and unborn. After retiring, John dedicated himself to volunteering at Morningstar Pregnancy Services in Harrisburg and served on their board of directors until his death. His passion for helping women, babies, fathers, teens, and children in crisis was known to all who loved John. In his retirement, he also became a member of The Knights of Columbus (Council #9875), attended mass as often as possible, prayed the rosary daily, and set alarms on his phone for almost every hour of the day to pray for the specific needs of his children, grandchildren, and other loved ones.
In addition to his wife, Patricia, John was preceded in death by his parents, Tellis Lewis and Mae Lou Watson (nee Frantz), his brother, Theodore Watson, and sister-in-law, Louise Watson (nee Pesta) of Alabama, sister-in-law, Kathryn Kennedy Weidner and her husband, Marvin Weidner, Sister in law Suzanne Kennedy Heilman and her husband Neil Heilman, brother in law, Robert S. Kennedy, Jr., and son in law, Stephen Smith.
He is survived by his four children, Marjorie Reagan of Winter Garden, Florida, Christine Watson Hagan (husband, James) of Cleona, Pennsylvania, Mary Watson Smith of Sanford, Florida, John James Watson (wife, Amanda) of Owego, New York, beloved sister in law and adopted daughter, Colleen Kennedy Vickers (husband, Dale) of Deltona, Florida, sister in law, Gladys Riddle Watson of Auburn, Alabama, grandchildren, Bridget Reagan, Maerissa Smith, and Saxon Smith all of Sanford, Florida, Gwyneth Watson, Matthew Watson, Cameron Bosell and John Patrick “Jack” Watson all of Owego, New York, and Daniel Hagan of Cleona, Pennsylvania, as well as, many dear nieces and nephews, grand nieces and grand nephews, cousins, and friends.
A funeral mass will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 20, 2022, at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, 125 Spruce St., Annville, PA, 17003. Visitation will be held prior to mass from 10:00 -11:00 a.m. at the church. Burial with full military honors will follow immediately at Holy Cross Cemetery, 1810 Jay Street, Lebanon, PA 17046
In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent in John’s memory to: Morning Star Pregnancy Services 2509 N Front St, Harrisburg, PA 17110 or St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church- Youth Group, 125 Spruce St., Annville, PA 17003.