Obituary and Service Information for James Lee Watson

Watson, James Lee

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Michael J. Fox Foundation or Jefferson College

James (Jim) Lee Watson, 71, passed away peacefully on January 22, 2021 surrounded by his family. He is survived by his wife, Polly, son, Thomas (Kaysie), daughter, Katie, his brothers, Jack Watson of Naperville, IL, and Bob Watson of Champaign, IL, two grandchildren, Ava and Isabella, and several nieces and nephews.

Jim grew up in Champaign, Illinois and attended Central High School where he was on the wrestling team. He then went to the University of Illinois where he obtained a Liberal Arts Degree in History and Economics. He was a member of Delta Chi Fraternity and earned a U of I letter in wrestling. He studied Economics and Journalism at the University of Missouri - Columbia (MIZZOU) and earned a Masters Degree.

Jim went on to teach Economics at Jefferson College in Hillsboro, MO, and taught there for over 35 years. He loved economics and teaching. Jim Watson was held in high regard during his long tenure and had a wide circle of friends. He continued to attend gatherings with his academic colleagues called the Geezers, where they discussed academics, business, and politics of the day.

Jim loved sports and especially the Boston Celtics, Utah Jazz, Chicago Cubs and of course, University of Illinois football and basketball. He loved music and learned how to play guitar with his brother, Bob. Jim liked a wide variety of music such as: the Beatles, the Allman Brothers, the Doors, folk music of Thom Bishop, Dan Fogelberg, Neil Young, and all jazz. Jim was an avid Star Trek fan and would end conversations with, “It was agreeable to talk to you”, in his best Spock voice. He loved to cook chili and had a penchant for chocolate.

With his quick wit, charisma, and genuine interest in other people he met, Jim made friends everywhere. A memorial celebration will be held when we are safe to gather. Sympathy cards, with your favorite Jim story, can be sent to his family. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the The Michael J. Fox Foundation or Jefferson College.

Arrangements are under the care and direction of the Mahn Funeral Home, Desoto, Missouri. Leave condolences online at


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