James R. Watson

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James R. Watson died on Friday, Dec. 4, 2020 at the age of 84.

Jim had a life full of accomplishments. He was born in Graham, Texas where he grew up and attended Graham High School graduating with numerous football and track awards. Jim received a football scholarship from the University of Texas at Austin, where he played running back for the Longhorns.

He received his Bachelors of Business Administration degree in 1958, then attended the University of Texas law school, obtaining his Juris Doctor degree in 1961.

It was as an undergraduate at The University of Texas where Jim met his wife of 43 years and mother of his children, Linda Louise Zerbe. They were married on June 1, 1958, in Houston, Texas.

A member of the Texas State Bar, Jim primarily practiced Labor and Employment Law. He began his practice with Dixie, Wolf and Hall. He then became a founding partner of Bray, Orsburn, Browning and Watson, which later became Bray and Watson, and finally the law firm of Watson, Flynn and Bensik. In addition to practicing law, Jim also taught labor law at the South Texas College of Law for several years. In 1990, Jim became in-house counsel for the South Atlantic and Gulf Coast District of the International Longshoremen’s Association, where he practiced until his retirement in 2015. He remained a consultant to the ILA District until his death.

Jim argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and other Federal and State courts in Texas, as well as the National Labor Relations Board, primarily representing labor, including many unions in the State of Texas.

Of all his accomplishments, though, there was none greater to him than his happy family. He and his wife, Linda, together raised four children in Cypress, Texas. He served as coach to all three of his sons little league football teams - and most of all, he served as an example for all who knew him as a man of integrity and compassion. His and Linda’s time as horse ranchers at the Rockin’ JW Ranch in Normangee, Texas remain some of the most fun family memories for their children and grandchildren.

Linda predeceased Jim in 2001. Following Linda’s passing, Jim married Lea Panos of Clear Lake, Texas, where they lived until her death in 2017. He is also predeceased in death by his dear brother William Max Watson in 2010.

Jim is survived by his four children: Jamie, Karla, Andrew (Denise), and Bob (Gretchen); seven grandchildren Holly (Kyle), Courtney (Tim), Michael, Tyler, Alex (Macy), Ivy, and Luke; and six great-grandchildren Jaxon, Stella, Kylar, Wyatt, Case, and Olivia - all of whom he loved and touched deeply.  The family would also like to especially thank his caregiver, Maria Williams, who brought such brightness and comfort to Jim and the family.

A private graveside inurnment, attended by the family, will be held Friday, Dec. 18, 2020 at 10 a.m., at Forest Park East Funeral Home and Cemetery, 21620 Gulf Freeway, Webster, Texas. To join the family at the graveside inurnment virtually, visit Jim’s Memorial page for a link to the livestream.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you please consider a donation to the Parkinson’s Foundation or the American Diabetes Association.

The Graham Leader

GRAHAM OFFICE
620 Oak Street
P.O. Box 600
Graham, Texas 76450
Phone: (940) 549-7800
Fax: (940) 228-0589