Gary Lee Watson

Gary Lee Watson of Lawrence, Kansas passed away peacefully Sunday, June 4, 2017 with his wife of 59 years at his side. Gary was born September 15, 1935 in Cuba, KS to Reverend Lawrence Dean Watson and Wavey Dean (Carpenter) Watson. Gary met and later married the love of his life Bertha Mae Campbell on June 29, 1958 in Almena, Kansas. Family remained a focal point of their long and loving life together. Together Gary and Bertha raised 4 wonderful children: Mark, Doug, Cherrie and Tammy. The family enjoyed numerous camping trips, tours of various historical sites around the country, and the ever-present love for anything related to the Kansas Jayhawks. Gary and his wife also doted on numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Gary spent his early years in Kansas and attended Gaylord High School in Gaylord, Kansas. After completing high school, he completed both undergraduate and graduate studies in the field of education. Gary impacted the lives of many students during his 20 years as a teacher and coach in various public schools in the Midwest. After his years in the public school system, Gary began a rewarding career with the Kansas Department of Education where he remained until his retirement in late 2000. He never lost his love for education.

Gary was preceded in death by his parents, sisters; Lilah and Ruby, brothers; Dean and John, as well as his oldest son Mark and youngest daughter Tammy, and son-in-law Will. He is survived by his loving wife Bertha, his son Doug (Sharon) Watson, daughter Cherrie (Mark) Preut, daughter-in-law Debbie Watson, sister-in law Barb Watson, sister-in law Connie (Mel) Kleinschmidt, brother-in-law Donnie (Glenda) Campbell, and 10 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.

A visitation will be held at Warren McElwain Mortuary in Lawrence on Sunday, June 11th from 6pm to 8pm. Funeral services will be held at 10am at Warren McElwain on Monday, June 12th with an interment ceremony immediately following at Oak Hill Cemetery.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers a donation be made to the National Parkinson’s Foundation. A link to his memorial page can be found at or may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortu

4 Condolences

  1. Karen, Roger & Bill Terry on June 7, 2017 at 10:14 am

    Bertha Mae, Cherrie and Douglas,

    No words are sufficient at times like these. But, please know that we are “with you in spirit” and praying that God will take care of you during this time of sorrow and beyond.

    We LOVED our Uncle Gary and will miss his “smiling face” for sure.

    Karen, Roger and Bill Terry

  2. Gordon and Karen Colip on June 7, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    We were so sorry to hear about Gary. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  3. Jim & Sandie Tramba on June 8, 2017 at 7:15 am

    Our thoughts are with you Bertha. May the memories of your years together sustain you. Jim & Sandie Tramba

  4. Jim Johnson on June 11, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    Bertha Mae,
    Barb and I are sorry to hear of your loss. We were in Almena over Memorial Day and visited Mt Olive Cemetery where Barb’s Great Grandparents Philip Short are buried. I thought of you since I know you lived just east of there. Several of our high school class were together at the alumni. Many great memories.
    I am sure that Gary touched many lives in his work as an educator. May the many memories help sustain you during this time of loss.

    Jim Johnson

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