Richard Lee “Dick” Watson, 86 of Emporia died Sunday (July 7, 2019) at his home.

Dick was born January 26, 1933, in Fort Wayne, Indiana the son of Russel Thomas Watson and Marguerite (Bauer) Watson. He married his beloved Loretta Jo Martinson, on May 6, 1955, in Crawfordsville, Indiana. They were happily married for nearly 64 years and lived to enjoy their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Dick earned a bachelor’s degree from Wabash College and an Ed.D. from Indiana University. He spent his adult career as an educator in K-12 and Higher Education. Dick was a visionary and had a passion for positively influencing people, especially children. His career was primarily spent focusing on the development of some of the state’s first remedial reading programs and his work was influential in developing the next generation of reading educators across Kansas and surrounding states. His educational positions included: elementary teacher; faculty member at Pittsburg State University, Wichita State University (Chair), Oral Roberts University (Dean), and Emporia State University; principal at Emporia Christian School. Dick was a reading specialist, a member of the International Reading Association and an influential leader in the Kansas Reading Association and Kansas Reading Professionals in Higher Education. Besides his work in education, Dick enjoyed farming/ranching as a hobby and left many fond memories for family and friends. He loved his family and was well known for his sense of humor and life examples. Dick will be remembered by the family through the many scouting, grandkids’ camps, hunting, fishing, golfing, farm, and reunion stories fondly retold by all.

Dick’s faith was strong and he shared it through example. He was a member of 12th Avenue Baptist Church in Emporia. Dick served in his church, as a founding board member of the Emporia Christian School, a Gideon, an American Legion member, and on the board of Catholic Charities.

Dick was recently preceded in death by his wife, Joey. His survivors include: daughter, Lori Ann Mann (Roy) of Emporia, sons Richard Lee Watson, Jr., M.D. (Janine) of Ruston, Washington, Thomas Joseph Watson (Song) of Lincoln, Nebraska, Michael David Watson (Theresa), of Olathe; grandchildren Sarah, Jennifer, Russell, Annie, Dick, John-Michael, Andrew, Maggie, Sank, Ellie, Lillie, Justin, Codey, Patrick, Joel, Jacob, Nicholas, Mason; 11 great-grandchildren and many other extended family members.

Dick will be buried with Joey in a private service at the Benton Cemetery. A memorial service will be conducted at 6:30 p.m. Friday (July 12, 2019) in Emporia at the 12th Avenue Baptist Church. Memorial contributions may be made to Emporia Christian School or the E.S.U. Foundation for the Teachers College Fund for Excellence and sent in care of Roberts-Blue-Barnett Funeral Home.