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Tommy Abe “T.A.” Watson, a loving father, grandfather and great-grandfather, died Oct. 13 at his home in Knox City, Texas surrounded by his family. He was 82 years old. A celebration of his life will be held in the near future.
He was born in Knox City on March 19, 1937, where he grew up on the family farm, attended school and was a standout football player. T.A. attended TCU on a football scholarship. He played his freshman year and transferred to the University of Houston for one year before joining the U.S. Army.
When he finished with the Army, or as he said, “when the Army was finished with me”, T.A. returned to Knox City where he began a lifelong career in farming. Starting with some land rented from his parents he acquired additional acreage, began selling fertilizer, worked as a custom farmer, and later a rural mail carrier to make the whole operation a success. When asked what the secret to his success as a farmer was he replied “start early and stay late.”
T.A. was a pilot, an avid hunter and a craftsman who loved making and building things with his own hands. With his welding skills, he built metal cookers, all kinds of tables and headboards, and with his woodworking skills he made desks, gun cabinets and many other treasured things. He was an avid reader and a lifelong Democrat. He was Master Mason for 61 years and a Baptist.
And then there was golf. T.A. took up golf relatively late in life, in his late 20s and was self taught. He played a lot of golf, starting out on a “Tin Cup” West Texas type golf course and ending his playing days on very beautiful courses in the San Antonio area, playing with (and mostly beating) friends he had met after moving there upon his retirement. Beating T.A. on the golf course was not an easy thing as he carried a legitimate mid-single digit handicap, even into his later years. It was nothing for him to shoot his age throughout his 70s. He played in numerous competitive golf tournaments as a senior golfer and always fared very well. He loved the competition and camaraderie that could be found on the golf course. He had a heckuva short game.
He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law Kim and Greg Clonts of Knox City; daughter Elizabeth Yechout of Medford, OR; granddaughters Lauren Clonts of Lubbock, Emily and husband Kevin Cates of Knox City and Audrey Yechout of Medford; great grandchildren Hudson Cates, Everett Cates, Eli Cates, Campbell Cates, Jackson Cates of Knox City and Parks Lawson and Evie Hill of Lubbock. He is also survived by his sister Mary Jo Williams of Graham, nephews Chad Williams of Seymour and Lee Williams of Ft. Worth, and niece Lou Peterson of Austin.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Abe and Fannye Watson, and wife of 25 years Jan Larson Watson.
T.A.’s family would like to express our utmost love and respect for Hospice of Wichita Falls and special thanks to Misty, Deanna, and Samantha.
Memorials may be sent to Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children through scottishritehospital.org
Online condolences may be made and viewed at www.tankersleyfuneralhome.com