Cover photo for Richard Clayton Watson's Obituary
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1936 Dick 2024

Richard Clayton Watson

March 5, 1936 — May 5, 2024


Richard Clayton Watson passed away peacefully with his family by his side on May 5, 2024. He was 88.

Born on March 5, 1936, to Richard “Poolie” Watson and Pauline “Polly” Oviatt Watson, Dick grew up in Cadillac, Michigan. Always outgoing and looking for fun, he had fond memories of boyhood adventures with his friends and his brother, Tom. He loved working and was proud of his first job as a teenager selling men’s clothes in downtown Cadillac. Dick graduated from Cadillac High School in 1954 and then studied at Kalamazoo College. Later, he served two years in the U.S. Army stationed in Germany. The slideshow pictures he took during his travels in Europe provided great entertainment and created a love of travel among his kids. 

After returning from the Army, Dick attended Ferris State University and continued his retail career in furniture. In 1961, he married Janet Sue Paquette in Cadillac. They had two sons, Tim and David, before moving to Saginaw, Michigan in 1966. Three years later, daughter Mary was born. Always part of the family was a cat that was treated as royalty. 

Dick and Jan had fun times in Saginaw playing cards, bowling, attending plays, and having parties with neighbors who became life-long friends. Dick also enjoyed his summer golf leagues and time out with his friends. In 1979, Dick was transferred to Appleton. Dick and Jan again made many life-long friends in their neighborhood and in their bowling league. In 1987, after spending much of his career in the retail business, Dick began the career he most loved—being an on-the-road furniture rep in Wisconsin and Upper Michigan.  

In retirement, Dick greatly enjoyed spending winters in Destin, Florida with Jan.  He loved his morning walks to have coffee and later in the day a cigar and a beer while watching the ocean. He also excelled at being a fun grandpa! His grandchildren remember how he played and used his imagination alongside them to create fantastical contraptions. Dick and Jan also traveled regularly to Michigan to keep in touch with family and friends.

Dick is survived by his sons Tim (Pete Smaby) and David; daughter Mary (Joel) Woznicki; daughter-in-law Taeko Watson; grandchildren Rio, Mia, and Sam Watson; Joe (Hannah), James, and Mark Woznicki; Tony Cooper and Andy Powless; great-granddaughter Jenna Woznicki and great-grandson Wesley Powless. He is further survived by his brother, Tom (Kirby) and his sisters-in-law Marcia (Charlie) Wilson and Pat (Rick) Powell, along with many beloved nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife, his parents; his father- and mother-in-law Howard and Helen Paquette; his sister-in-law Mary Jo Canfield; and his niece Jolynn Nelson. 

While dementia and physical ailments affected his ability to live independently in his later years, Dick’s fun-loving personality endured.  He livened up any room he was in and loved socializing.  His family is forever grateful to the staff at Heartwood Homes Senior Living for the love and care they gave Dick over the past year and a half. He truly found another family who loved him and appreciated his easygoing spirit and humor.  His children would also like to thank AseraCare Hospice, who worked with Heartwood to give Dick a dignified, comfortable, and peaceful final two weeks. 

A private memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to AseraCare Hospice or the Fox Valley Memory Care Project. Dick will be buried with Janet at St Mary's Cemetery in Appleton.

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