James “Jim” Wendell Watson, 78, of Manhattan, KS, passed away on May 15, 2021.
A memorial service will be held Saturday May 22nd, 2021 at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 2812 Marlatt Ave, Manhattan, KS, at 2 pm.
There will also be a Celebration of Life Open House held at Three Rivers Engraving, 126 W Flint Hills Blvd, Junction City, KS, May 27th, 2021 from 1 pm – 5 pm.
Memorials are suggested to the Watson Family Fund c/o Johnson Cremations, Funerals & Receptions.
Jim was born on November 19, 1942, in Manhattan, Kansas, to Wendell and Alice (Justice) Watson. He was the youngest of five children, and at a young age started working in the family moving and storage business, Watson Transfer and Storage. He attended Kansas State University and later attended the Brooks Institute of Photography in California. He met the love of his life, Elda Marie Wedel, in Wichita Kansas. While in Wichita, they married on March 21, 1969. In the early years of their marriage, they made their home in several different states; Kansas, Minnesota, California, and Iowa. Ultimately, they settled back in Manhattan. Jim loved to travel and found great enjoyment in working as a Sales Representative for different companies. This allowed him to travel all over the western United States. He finally realized his dream by starting and running his own business with his wife. Later adding to that dream by purchasing Three Rivers Engraving, which serves the Junction City, Fort Riley, Manhattan, and surrounding communities.
Jim was always actively involved in his family’s interest regardless of the subject, from his wife to his children, and his grandchildren. He was an active member in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as a member of the Manhattan 1st ward, however, he was also known to make an appearance at Manhattan 2nd ward from time to time. He served in many callings, his last being the Stake Property Facilitator for the Church. He showed his continuous support in his children’s and his grandchildren’s activities. He participated in 4-H, BSA and GSUSA when his children were young. He was always active where it mattered. He loved and supported his wife in her leadership positions for Girl Scouts. Jim was always his grandchildren’s number one Cheerleader. It should also be noted that he loved all his children and grandchildren unconditionally; and regardless of fatigue and pain he showed up to every performance, birthday, and miniscule occasion. He brought with him a smile that reached his eyes, humor that lit the room, and a love that stretched for miles.
Jim was a talented photographer and took pictures of trains all over the country, and over the years several of his train photos were published. He was one of the founders of The Union Pacific Historical Society and was the first president as well. He was a great collector of everything railroad related. He also enjoyed collecting Legos, stamps, coins, and of course jokes.
James is survived by his loving family: wife, Elda Marie Watson of Manhattan, KS; four children Elda Kristine (Jene) Salas of Fremont, CA, Aaron Wendell Watson of Manchester, NH, Melissa Ann (Sean) Turpin of Longview, WA, and Jared Michael (Amber) Watson of Manhattan, KS; twelve grandchildren, Samantha, Hannah, Gabriel, Emma "Connor", Leo, Lillyn, Aaron, Brayden, Katriese, Emi, Sebastian, and Aireanna; and a plethora of loving family and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his siblings Romie Harrington, Patricia Harrington Brown, Clyde Watson, and Lila Watson.
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