Obituary Details

Judson "Jud" Palmer Watson

(10/01/1898 - 02/02/1978)
Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 02/09/1978

Jud Watson dead at 79

The funeral for Judson P. Watson, 79, who died Feb. 2 in Guatemala City, Guatemala, was Wednesday at the Niobrara County High School Auditorium in Lusk.

He was born Oct. 1, 1898 to Josiah and Ellan Sheldon Watson. He moved to Wyoming in 1908 when his mother took a homestead a mile west of Keeline.

Judson graduated from Jireh College, took some courses at the University of Wyoming and received his law degree in January 1925 and practiced in Niobrara County until his death.

He married Minerva Church May 18, 1924. The couple had three children: Rev. Palmer Watson, San Pablo, Calif.; Minette Gregory, Los Angeles, Calf.; Justine Watson, Sioux Falls, S.D.

He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, Josiah of Joliet, Ill., and Ernest of El Cajon, Calif.

Burial was in the Lusk Cemetery. Memorials may be sent to the Niobrara County Nursing Home.

Rev. Palmer Watson officiated at the services. The music was by Jane Bardo and the soloist was Mark Lohr who sang "Lead Kindly Light" and "The Lord's Prayer."

The Lusk Herald
February 16, 1978
Judson Watson's funeral conducted by his son

In spite of the stormy weather some 300 people paid tribute to Judson P. Watson at the funeral service for him at the Niobrara County High School Auditorium last Wednesday afternoon. Besides being a tribute to an unusual man, the service was unusual because Mr. Watson's son, the Rev. Palmer Watson, longtime pastor of MacArthur Community Baptist Church of San Pablo, Calif., conducted it. For this reason we are printing his funeral oration.

A life-long friend of Judson P. Watson, the Rev. Al Swensen, pastor of Hulett, who for many years was executive secretary of the Wyoming Baptist Convention, assisted briefly in the service. Mark Lohr, minister of the Lusk Church of Christ, sang "Lead Kindly Light" and "The Lord's Prayer," accompanied by Mrs. Gerald Bardo.

Interment was in the Lusk Cemetery, and in its winter coat of frost and ice was probably never more beautiful, but the snow was so deep that mourners were discouraged from trying to attend the burial. Instead many gathered at the St. George's Episcopal Church Parish Hall to greet the family and talk over old times.


We have gathered here this afternoon to remember and give thanks to God for my Father, Judson P. Watson, and to share one with another in the sorrow and loneliness that has come to us; and to share the memories of days gone by and to discover again the promises of God concerning life and life eternal.

My Father is survived by my mother, Minerva C. Watson of Lusk, by my two sisters, Miss Justine Watson of Sioux Falls, S.D., and Mrs. Minette Gregory of Los Angeles, Calif., and by myself, his son of San Pablo, Calif. He is also survived by four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, each of whom knew they were dearly loved by a wonderful Grandfather.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Rev. Josiah P. Watson and Ella Sheldon Watson. His two brothers also died within the last 12 months, Josiah and Ernest.

He is also survived by countless friends scattered the world around.

My Dad was born Oct. 1, 1898, in Dayton, Ohio. His father died leaving a wife and three small boys. There was no Social Security or death benefits in those days, so his mother sold their house in Dayton, loaded everything in a box car and came west. She took a homestead a mile west of Keeline and they built a barn, only to discover it was on the wrong side of the tracks. They moved it and lived in it until they could build their house, which is now located just across the street from the high school.

He graduated from Jireh College and then joined the United States Army and was stationed in Laramie where he had the privilege of attending the University of Wyoming. He was discharged on Armistice Day and returned to Keeline. His two brothers wanted to go back to school - one to be a teacher and the other to be a doctor. My father agreed to stay on the farm and send them to school with the understanding that when they graduated, they would sent him to school.

He didn't wait, but went ahead and earned his law degree May 22, 1925, and was admitted to the Wyoming State Bar Jan. 26, 1926.

In the meantime Minerva Church who lived on the next farm said with Ruth of the Old Testament, "Wither thou goest, I will go" and on May 18, 1924, they were married and have had a wonderful life together.

Practicing law on a farm was not a paying business, so he ran a mail route for some ten years and also filed on a homestead north of Keeline.

In 1930 with three very small children he made the break, leaving the farm, moving to Lusk and opened his law practice here.

Within a few years he began to lose his hearing and was soon completely deaf. Most would have given up, for how can one practice law and not hear? My mother became his constant companion and they together did the impossible. People would swear my Dad could hear, never realizing the part played by my Mother.

His world did not end with deafness, but expanded until it touched every continent the world around.

What son would want his father as a Deacon in his own church, but he was so loved by the members of my church, the MacArthur Community Baptist Church of San Pablo that they unanimously elected my Father a Life Deacon in 1960. He made much of my work possible in San Pablo because of his letters and his spirit. And those marvelous Christmas Letters, what will we do without those?

He was honored in Cheyenne not too long ago as the top expert in Wyoming State Law. But my Father stood tallest when he was stooping down to help the least, the last and the lost.

You heard Mark Lohr sing my Father's favorite song - "Lead Kindly Light." He had it at his wedding in 1924; asked that it be used at my wedding in 1945 and at my sister's wedding also. It reminds us where he put his faith and trust.

Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home,
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.

I am sure that many of you would also like to share this afternoon what my Father meant to you. But you have discovered as have I how inadequate words become when we speak of love-inspiration-friendship. My Dad could have said it and made it just right--but I can't. But how thankful I am to God for my Father. Dag Hammarskjold, Secretary General of the United Nations for many years was killed in a plane crash in 1961. In his Bible which he carried with him, written on the flyleaf was this prayer: "Lord, when I was born, all the world laughed while I alone cried. May I so live that when you call me home, I alone will be filled with joy overflowing while all the world mourns my passing."

My Dad went home to be with the Lord at 6 a.m. Feb. 2, 1978, in Guatemala City, Guatemala, while visiting Mission Stations and having a wonderful time. I can almost hear him saying to us:

I am home in Heaven, dear ones:
Oh, so happy and so bright!
There is perfect joy and beauty
In this everlasting light.
All the pain and grief is over,
Every restless tossing passed:
Safely home in Heaven at last.

But my Father would not stop with that, but would add a world of advice.

There is work still waiting for you,
So you must not idly stand;
Do it now, while life remaineth-
You shall rest in God's own land.
When the work is all completed,
He will gently call you Home;
Oh, the rapture of that meeting,
Oh, the joy to see you come!

His Bible which he used constantly is now in his hands there in the casket-no longer needed by him, but it was his guide and stay for almost 80 years. He now can talk with the Shepherd of whom the Bible speaks.

But as long as you and I walk the face of this earth we need to read about and know that Shepherd too. As we go back to our daily tasks, may we take the words of David the Psalmist with us - the Twenty-third Psalm.

Images & Attachments

Minerva and Judson Watson

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