Robert W. “Bob” Watson, 68, of Jefferson City, Mo., died Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital.
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Bob was born Feb. 19, 1951, at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., the only son of Joseph Walter Watson and Carolyn Sue (Strickler) McCormick. He was a 1969 graduate of Southwest High School in St. Louis and a 1973 graduate of Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Bob began his career in journalism with a job in radio in 1972, moving to KLIK from 1974–1982. He then went to work as a reporter and assignment editor with KRCG-TV 13 from 1982–1989. Since 1989, Bob was a reporter with the Jefferson City News Tribune, covering the Missouri Legislature, state government, Lincoln University and various other issues.
He prided himself in accuracy, objectivity and fairness. He never shied from asking tough questions of his sources, and always explained their answers to make sure both sides of a story were told.
Bob won several awards throughout the years including the Missouri Bar’s “Excellence in Journalism” award three times and was part of News Tribune teams that have won awards from the Missouri Press and Kansas City Press Club. His biggest honor came just two months before his death, as he was named the W. E. Hussman Employee of the year. It’s the most prestigious award given by Wehco Media, which owns the News Tribune.
His other awards included a 2018 Gold Award from the Kansas City Press Club for investigative reporting for his story “Lincoln University travel budget.” Earlier this year, he won the Kansas City Press Club’s Silver Award for deadline reporting/breaking news for his story “Greitens resigns.”
In 2014, the Missouri Senate passed a resolution for Bob, honoring him for his 40th year of covering state government and 25th year with the News Tribune. In part, the resolution noted he was “fair and balanced,” and said in part: “He has worked consistently and tirelessly to keep our readers, informed about the viewpoints, debate and outcome of issues that affect their lives and livelihoods.”
Bob was a senior member of the Capitol Press Corps, having interviewed Missouri governors and other elected officials over his 45-year career. Not long before he died, Bob interviewed Gov. Mike Parson, who, upon Bob’s passing, wrote on social media: “Bob will always have my respect.”
For more than 15 years, he has served as the media coordinator for the 19th Circuit Court in Cole County, coordinating news coverage of court cases with the media and judges presiding over the cases.
He enjoyed traveling to the National Parks, and anywhere with his family or his friend Annette. He was an avid St. Louis Cardinal and Kansas City Royals fan, liked attending concerts, and visiting art galleries and museums.
He was a loving father and grandfather, always being the first to show how proud he was of his family. He was also a dedicated and caring friend, ensuring he kept in contact with those near and far.
Bob was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church and its church choir, making church a second home. He was also a member of the Missouri Press Association.
If there was one phrase that could be associated with Bob it was The Golden Rule. He lived by it and utilized it in every aspect of his life from ensuring he taught it to his children to exemplifying it in his actions, both professional and personal.
Survivors include: two children, Drew Watson (Susan) of Jefferson City, Mo., and Beth Patton (Chris) of Astoria, New York; three grandchildren, Declan Carver Watson, Elliot Faith Watson, and Xaiden William Patton; his mother and step-father, Sue and Bob McCormick of Columbia, Mo., two sisters, Sally D. Rasmussen of Omaha, Nebraska and Molly Watson (John Hartman) of Astoria, New York; one niece, Rachel Bender (Mike) of Yorktown, Virginia; two great-nieces, Morgan Rebecca Bender and Rhianna Nicole Bender; and his longtime friend, Annette Clark of Jefferson City, Mo. as well as beloved aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews.
He was preceded in death by: his father; his grandparents; and brothers-in-law, Quentin Rasmussen and Bill Hale.
Visitation will be held at the First Presbyterian Church from 4-7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 8.
Funeral services will be conducted at 2:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9 at the First Presbyterian Church with the Rev. Dr. David Henry officiating.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested to the First Presbyterian Church.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Freeman Mortuary.