April 1, 1926 – January 27, 2018

Ellensburg native Joe Watson passed away peacefully Saturday morning in Yakima. Born and raised in the Fairview district, on what is now Watson Road, he was the fifth of twelve children to John Lawrence and Carrie Mabel Watson.

Joe attended the Dysart School and Morgan Junior High before graduating from Ellensburg High School. He joined the Navy and participated in clean-up operations near Okinawa following the conclusion of World War II. He returned home and enrolled in Central Washington College and received a degree in education.

Joe met his future wife, Louise, at a barn dance in the Kittitas Valley. They married in 1951 and both graduated from Central. Joe accepted an offer to teach high school mathematics in Bellevue, Washington. During the summers, he completed his administration certification and in 1956 became principal of Othello High School. Two years later he accepted the vice principal position at Bellevue High School. Then in 1963 he was selected to become the first principal at Newport High School in Bellevue. Joe also served as principal of Bellevue High School before retiring as the Director of Personnel.

Joe is survived by his wife of nearly 67 years, Louise, of Ellensburg, son John Watson of Baker City, Oregon; son Matthew Watson of Gold Bar, Washington, daughter and son-in-law Jotie and Felidor Rojas of Moses Lake, Washington; son and daughter-in-law Mick and Wendy Watson of Lake Stevens, Washington and son Jeffrey Watson of Auburn, Washington; along with 12 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren. He is also survived by three sisters: Marlene Overton of Renton, Washington; Maxine Wyatt of Buckley, Washington; and Miriam Watson of Yakima.

Graveside services will be held Saturday, February 3, 2018, 11:00 a.m. at IOOF Cemetery, 1900 N. Brick Rd. in Ellensburg. An informal lunch will follow at a local restaurant.

Memorial Donation can be made in Joseph’s honor to Chestnut Street Baptist Church building fund, 609 N Chestnut St., Ellensburg, WA 98926.

Online condolences may be made to the family at