Donald Dean Watson of Kalispell, Montana, passed away peacefully at his home on October 27, 2021, surrounded by his daughter, Jennifer, and granddaughter, Audrey.
Donald was born January 30, 1928, in Gordon, Nebraska to Ewart and Minnie Watson. After graduating from high school in Rushville, Nebraska, he enrolled at Chadron State College. The Korean War interrupted his education. He left school to work as a radio operator in Korea. Don was proud to serve his country. He was a true patriot. However, his service ended abruptly when his father passed, and he returned to Nebraska to care for his mother and help on the family farm. With encouragement from friends and teachers, Don returned to Chadron State College, graduating in 1956.
Don went on to complete medical school in Omaha. He practiced family medicine in Gordon, Nebraska. His first wife, Betty Turvey, died from lupus shortly after their marriage.
Don married Patricia Petrik in 1966 and moved to Denver. In 1967, their only child, Jennifer, was born.
Don was a gifted physician with a calming bedside manner. He practiced anesthesia at Lutheran Hospital in Wheat Ridge, Colorado from 1973 until his retirement in 1994. Through the years, Don loved to spend time with family and friends at his cabin in Grand Lake, Colorado, hosting many memorable 4th of July celebrations and annual hikes that came to be affectionately known as “The Death March”. He also returned frequently to his beloved home in Nebraska to spend time with family and friends. Don had an insatiable love of travel and a boundless curiosity about the world. He traveled all over the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Europe, the Caribbean, and Malaysia. His favorite travel destination was Hawaii, and Jennifer and Audrey feel blessed to have accompanied him on his last voyage there.
In 2000, Don and Pat moved to Kalispell to be closer to Jennifer. In 2008, their only grandchild, Audrey, was born. Jennifer, Audrey, and Don shared a home for the last three years of his life. It was a blessing to have this special time together. According to Audrey, Grandpa Don was “smart, funny and encouraging.” He was a wise, kind, generous and gentle soul who made friends wherever he went. We miss him so much.
Don was preceded in death by his wife Patricia, parents Ewart and Minnie Watson, sister Charlyn Snyder, brother Rollin Watson, and nephew Gene Snyder.
Don is survived by his daughter, Jennifer, and granddaughter, Audrey Koontz, of Kalispell, as well as many family members and friends whom he loved completely and unconditionally.
Don was generous and gave to a multitude of charities, including Alzheimer’s Disease Research, Susan G. Komen Foundation, and conservative organizations. In lieu of flowers, donate in his name to the charity of your choice.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, July 2, at 10 a.m. at the Catholic Cemetery in Martin, South Dakota.