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John Michael Watts
October 23, 1938 ~ September 13, 2023 (age 84) 84 Years Old
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John M. Watts, 84, of Albany, Oregon passed away at home on September 13, 2023, after a long battle with MDS. John was born in London England on October 23, 1938 to Ernest and Lily Watts. During the war, his family relocated to the small town of Wootton Bassett, England where he spent the rest of his childhood.
While attending Oxford University, he worked at The Atomic Energy Research Center at Harwell, England, where he met his future wife Gillian and many lifelong friends. In his youth, he was well known for his proficiency with motors, chemistry, and music. He played banjo with his friends in a jazz band. When he needed money for petrol, he would scare up a poker game.
In 1967, John took a job with Union Carbide who moved him and Gillian to the United States – initially for a short stint in Indianapolis, and then on to San Diego. After working as a chemist for a few years, John decided he wanted to see more of the USA so he took a job as a long-haul truck driver with the Red Ball moving company. This job not only showed him the country but also inspired him to write the first of his books, “The Professional Movers Manual”. In the early 1980s, after 10 years on the road and with 3 children under the age of 10, John sold his rig and purchased a small pool business in Kearny Mesa, California called Coral Pool Supply. He found that he loved the work, his employees, and his customers, and he spent the next several decades working 6 days a week, 10 hours a day, until he grudgingly retired at the age of 75. In 2018, John and Gillian relocated to Oregon to be closer to their children and grandchildren.
John wrote two more books during his life: a novel and a collection of short stories. These he self published and gave to friends and family. If you can find an un-signed copy, they’re worth more. He loved sailing and deep sea fishing. He pored over chess books. He was a member of The Madrigal Singers, a choral group in San Diego where he met many lifelong friends. He loved Mexico and traveled there frequently on the weekends to sit by the ocean and eat fresh seafood. He also made many trips to Mexico as a volunteer with the Thousand Smiles Foundation, helping to provide free dental care to underserved children. His dedication to lifelong learning led him to become fluent in Spanish. He was a collector of stamps, old books and coins. Later in life he and Gillian traveled to England, Canada, China and other destinations. John was enchanted by astronomy and saw eight Total Solar Eclipses in his lifetime.
John will be remembered for his humor. He was always ready with a joke, albeit an inappropriate one most of the time. While on the road, his fitting handle was “The Laughing Limey.” He found farts immensely funny and laughed until he cried when shown videos of people farting.
John is survived by his sister, three children and their spouses, four grandsons and one niece. John is preceded in death by his parents and his wife, Gillian Watts, who passed away in April of this year.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Lumina Hospice in Albany, Oregon.