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Frank D. Watson, 80, of Hampden, MA passed peacefully on Friday, July 8th, 2022. He was born August 2nd, 1941, Springfield, MA.
Frank is survived by the love of his life of 59 years, Phyllis (McCombe) Watson, of Hampden; two adoring daughters Heather (Watson) Webb, and son in law Gregory Webb, of Gaithersburg, MD; and Bonnie Watson of Hampden; two cherished grandsons, Grady Lawrence and Garrett Delbert; his devoted sister, Shirley Facey and her late husband, Donald, of Wilbraham; two nephews, Scott (Carol) Facey of Springfield and Dale (Amy) Facey of Plano Texas; and three great-nieces and nephews Melissa, Quinlan, and Sean Facey.
Frank, the son of the late Francis G. Watson and Hazel Eaton Watson, graduated from Technical High School class of 1960. Frank attended American International College, and worked at Mass Mutual from 1960 to 1995, retiring as Director of General Services.
A native to the Springfield area, and naturally inquisitive, Mr. Watson possessed a remarkable knowledge and kinship for Hampden-his home of 55 years.
Frank traversed through and across his community, never taking the same route twice. His grand kids know him as ‘The Great Meanderer’.
Frank possessed the great gift to form connections with everyone he came in contact with. His knack for finding links with strangers became something of a family joke; just give Frank 5 minutes and he’d find a friend or business associate both of them knew.
Mr. Watson’s natural inclination to form close ties might best illustrate the man Frank Watson was. In addition to his beautiful family, his true legacy could well be the long-lasting and resolute commitments Frank made with an impressive list of associations.
Frank always achieved a leadership role, engaging people in a very real and practical manner. After 35 years at Mass Mutual, the company where his parents first met, Frank had automated all telecommunications and records management. President of MA Telecommunications Assoc.; Member of Gov. Michael Dukakis Telecommunications Committee; Co-Chair of The Postal Customer Council of Western MA; and, after a brief retirement, Frank held the position of Campus Postmaster at Western New England Collage for 8 years.
Frank’s life demonstrates a never-ending capability to engage, support, and make friends along the way. He was a quiet pilar of strength and unending support among those who knew him.
A man of faith, the church community was a consistent presence in the Watson home. Active within his church, Mr. Watson held many roles: i.e. Finance and Property Committee, Board of Directors and Treasurer, and Board of Deacons, within the Federated Community Church. Mr. Watson served his faith well while providing practical guidance. His leadership is exemplified by his nomination to the church’s Search Committee to find a Pastor, which resulted in bringing Pastor Tom Howells, who served in that capacity for 25 years.
Frank was a man of friendship and fraternity. After high school hockey, and as a newlywed, he enlisted into the 1049th Army Reserve, and served 9 years. He was a member and past President of the Hampden Lions Club; the Hampden Finance Committee; and on the Board of Parks & Recreation. Frank was a Master of the Indian Orchard/Ludlow Brigham Lodge of Masons AF&AM (1975). Frank volunteered at Shriner’s Hospital for Children in the Transportation Unit; he was a Melha Shriner and past president of the Directors’ Unit. Here, Frank was most proud to bring fellow church member Dr. Phil Stoddard to Shriner’s Hospital. Dr. Stoddard performed 100’s of cleft lip palate surgeries. Together these friends helped families in ways that will forever be remembered.
Frank was a family man, a businessman, a man of faith, a lodge brother, a volunteer, a friend to many, and a giver in every way.
When Frank learned of his (IPF) Idiopathic Pulmonary Disease, he researched the disease and learned of Esbriet, a life extending drug. He became a brand Ambassador, traveling the country and sharing his life story and treatment experiences and encouraging others to live their best life. Frank led by example, living every day to the fullest, once famously attending a meeting of fellow patients while fishing from a boat on Otis Reservoir.
Frank enjoyed a lifetime of steady and lasting friendships for better than three generations. He enjoyed tennis, racquetball and skiing with buddies and maintained a steady cadre of golfing partners for better than 35 years. He enjoyed many years of activities with family and friends, including camping, lake, beach and ski vacations, cruises and international travel. His enthusiasm for life will be forever missed.
His funeral will be held on Friday, August 12th at 11:00 AM at the Byron Keenan Funeral Home and Cremation Tribute Center, 1858 Allen Street, Springfield, MA. Relatives and friends may call prior to the service from 9:00 AM – 10:45 AM. Officers and members of the Indian Orchard/Ludlow Brigham Lodge of Masons AF&AM will conduct a Masonic Service beginning at 10:45 AM followed by a funeral home service. Burial will follow at Old Cemetery in Hampden.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be directed to Shriners Hospital-Springfield, 516 Carew Street, Springfield, Mass, 01104 or to the Jimmy Fund/Dana Farber Cancer Institute, P.O. Box 949168, Boston, MA 02284 or to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, 230 East Ohio Street, Suite 500, Chicago, Illinois 60611.
Shriner's Hospital for Children
516 Carew Street, Springfield MA 01104
PO Box 849168, Boston MA 02284-9168
Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation
230 East Ohio Street, Suite 500, Chicago IL 60611