Niobrara County Library - Judson Palmer Watson Jr. (April 22, 1926 - March 5, 2013)

Judson Palmer Watson Jr. (April 22, 1926 - March 5, 2013)

The Lusk Herald
March 27, 2013



The Rev. Palmer Watson was born on the family farm by Keeline, Wyoming. He was preceded in death by his parents Attorney & Mrs. Judson P. Watson, long time residents of Lusk, Wyoming. He is survived by his wife of 68 years Beulah (Mathewson) who also attended Lusk High School, lived and worked in Lusk. The couple was married at the First Baptist Church of Lusk in 1945. He is also survived by his two daughters Judy Lee (Mike) of Pinole; and Linnie Sherich (Kevin). His five Grandchildren include Nani Maranz, Richard Stevenson, Stephen Hartkopf, Amber Pineda & Kevin Sherich and all of their families. He is survived also by his sister-in-law Clea (Mathewson) Sharpe of Auburn California (originally from Lusk), and her family, brother-in-law Joe Cannon of Texas and his family, a number of nieces, nephews and cousins. His sister-in-law Helen (Mathewson) Cannon who also grew up in Lusk preceded him in death in 2009.

Palmer grew up in Lusk and worked for the Lusk Herald while attending high school. He went into the Navy in 1944 and while there made the life decision to become a minister so after his discharge from the Navy he and his wife Beulah enrolled in Sioux Falls College in South Dakota. While attending school there he was pastor of a small Presbyterian church. Also his daughter Judy was born while they were living in Sioux Falls.

After his graduation from college he moved to Berkeley, California to attend the Baptist Seminary and while attending Seminary became part time minister of MacArthur Community Baptist Church then after graduation it was a full time commitment to which he spent the next 42 years in serving the church and community as full time pastor retiring in 1993. After his retirement he kept doing funerals and weddings and serving in the community as well as the church. He was singing in the choir up until a short time before his last illness.

His accomplishments are too numerous to mention but just a few include: Chosen as San Pablo’s first Man of the Year 1955, Chaplain of the San Pablo Police Dept. and two hospitals, received the Edward H. Rhoads Award as Urban Minister of the year in 1965. In 1982 he was named Alumnus of the Year from the Divinity School from which he graduated. In San Pablo he was instrumental in establishing a new library, starting a school for mentally challenged children, a child care center at one of the local schools, starting the Meals on Wheels program in the area, provided help for a drug counseling center, worked with Red Cross, started a food pantry, worked with Boy Scouts, was chairman of the Housing Authority, chairman of the Mental Health Advisory Board and we could go on for pages but the most important was the work at the church which included building a new Sanctuary which was dedicated in 1958, this was also the year another daughter Linnie arrived.

A 56 unit apartment building for housing Seniors and disabled people was another big accomplishment and is still in service today providing homes for many low rent people who might otherwise by homeless.

Palmer was ordained in 1951 at the First Baptist Church of Lusk. Dignitaries from Baptist Churches all over Wyoming came to the occasion. Palmer had been a very active member of the Baptist Church in Lusk as a youth and before going into the Navy so it was very fitting to come back to Lusk for such an important event. During his yearly visits to Lusk he was often asked to preach or sing a solo.

Impressive funeral services were held at MacArthur Church in San Pablo on March 13th with an overflow crowd with many people just wanting to express their love and thanks. There were 20 uniformed police officers standing at attention along one whole side of the church during the entire service. There was also a Navy presentation of the flag with the audience standing and the play of Taps.








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