Ralph Watson, longtime resident of Elkins, passed away Thursday, March 28, 2013, in Gloucester House in Gloucester, Va., where he had been living for the past year with his wife, Cora.
He was born July 10, 1919, in New Baden, Ill., the sixth of seven children.
He moved with family to St. Louis, Mo., as a child. After high school, he worked as a hotel cook and Civil Service messenger, entered the U.S. Army in 1940 and served during World War II as a cook and military policeman.
He married Cora just prior to his entrance into the military. They spent their early years together at his various assignments in the West. After discharge, he continued his career with Civil Service, beginning as a messenger and working his way to becoming a personnel supervisor, who specialized in writing job descriptions, evaluating positions and job performance. He retired after 34 years of government service in 1975. He and Cora purchased a farm in Alpena, in 1968, as a retreat. They moved from Arlington, Va. to Alpena in 1976 and then to Elkins in 1977, where they lived happily until the move to Gloucester in 2011.
He was an active member of the Elkins Masonic Lodge and Pilgrim Commandery of the Knights Templar in Elkins and had been active in the Kena Temple Shrine and Order of Demolay in Alexandria, Va. In retirement, he and Cora were world travelers, having visited 65 countries. They also traveled in Airstream Caravans throughout the United States, Mexico and Central America. For the past 25 years, they spent their winters in Dade City, Fla., in an Airstream Resort community. He was an active member of First United Methodist Church in Elkins, where he served in a variety of positions including lay delegate to Annual Conference.
He is survived by his wife, Cora, to whom he was a devoted husband for 72 years; two sons, Ralph David (Helen Howard) of Lexington Park, Md., and Henry Douglas (spouse, Annette) of Gloucester, Va.; five grandchildren, Victoria Bracey of Manassas, Va., Heather Patton of Gloucester, Va., Vanessa Blaydes of Manassas, Va., Erin Riordan of Moseley, Va., and Evan Watson of Dublin, Calif.; and 14 great-grandchildren.
A memorial service celebrating his life will be conducted at First United Methodist Church in Elkins April 20 at 1 p.m. He will be interred at New Baden Cemetery in New Baden, Ill. at a later date.