James A. Watson
June 24, 2010
James A. Watson passed away at Jones Harrison Residence on Sunday, June 20 at the age of 91.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Dr. James A. Watson and Lucia Louise Watson; brothers Dr. Cecil J. Watson and Leland A. Watson; and sister Elinor Watson Bell. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Ann Hustad Watson; daughter Lucia A. Watson; sons Peter H. Watson and James A. Watson III; five granddaughters, Alita Watson, Maria Watson, Cheryl and Annie Watson, and Jessica Watson Durben (Joseph); and three great-grandchildren. Many nieces and nephews, including special niece, Ann Hustad and special nephew, Leland Watson, also survive him.
Jim was born on Jan. 23, 1919 in Minneapolis. He attended Kenwood School, West High, and the University of Minnesota, where he was a member of DKE Fraternity. Upon graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Corps, where he served from 1941 until 1946, spending two years in the South Pacific. After the war, he returned as a captain and entered into an executive training program at Red Owl Stores, ultimately becoming president and chairman of the board. He later became president of Gamble Skogmo.
In 1972, he became managing director of George Weston Ltd. of Toronto, Canada, and then became president and chairman of the board of National Food Stores in Chicago. Jim was a member of several boards, including Northwestern National Bank (now Wells Fargo), and the Retail Association of Minnesota. He was on the executive committees of the National Association of Food Chains and the Supermarket Institute.
He served on the Minneapolis Foundation. He was president of the University of Minnesota Alumni Association, and was honored to receive the U of M Outstanding Alumni Award in 1970.
Jim retired in 1977, and he and his wife Ann moved to Snowmass Village, Colo.
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He was a superb skier and he and Ann spent many happy years with their close group of similarly avid skiers. Jim and Ann returned each summer to spend time at their beloved cabin in northern Minnesota, surrounded by friends and family.
The Watson family would like to extend our deepest gratitude to the staff at Jones Harrison for their wonderful care and generous compassion to Jim and the family. Jim was a man of great integrity and we will miss him deeply.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Jones Harrison Residence, 3700 Cedar Lake Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55416 or the Petersen Award for Nursing Excellence, Abbott Northwestern Hospitals, 800 East 28th St., Minneapolis, MN 55407. A celebration of his life will be held on Wednesday, June 30 at 2 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1917 Logan Ave. So., in Minneapolis.