Robert Watson

Robert W. Watson

Monday, February 19th, 1951 - Sunday, August 4th, 2019
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Robert W. “Bob” Watson, 68, of Jefferson City, Mo., died Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital.

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.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Thursday, August 8th, 2019 | 4:00pm - 7:00pm
    Thursday, August 8th, 2019 4:00pm - 7:00pm
    First Presbyterian Church
    324 Madison St.
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Friday, August 9th, 2019 | 2:30pm
    Friday, August 9th, 2019 2:30pm
    First Presbyterian Church
    324 Madison St.
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Reverend Dr. David Henry


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Nancy Kettenbrink

Posted at 03:23pm
We were so sorry to hear about Bob’s passing. As a one-time co-worker and as friends for more than 30 years, we considered Bob a fixture in our life, as well as in the Jefferson City community. As journalists ourselves, we had the greatest admiration for him as a colleague who was hyper-aware of what was going on at the Capitol and in the capital city and who was a dedicated “bulldog” always seeking to uncover “the rest of the story.”

Bob truly was a unique, unforgettable person who will be greatly missed, both by the community and by these long-time friends. We’ll always have great memories of him and know that your memories of this extraordinary person will give you comfort in the days and years ahead.

Our sincerest condolences and best wishes,
Nancy and Dick Kettenbrink

MissouriNet and Learfield

Posted at 11:43am
Please accept our most heartfelt sympathies for your loss... Our thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time.
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MissouriNet and Learfield purchased the The FTD Comfort Planter for the family of Robert Watson. Send Flowers


Dr. Linder and David Evans

Posted at 11:42am
So sorry about your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
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Dr. Linder and David Evans purchased flowers for the family of Robert Watson. Send Flowers


Michael Wolff

Posted at 08:22am
Bob was a favorite. He worked hard to get the story right and he was unfailingly fair. He was cheerful and kind. And, importantly, he had a wealth of funny stories that did not make the pages of the newspaper. He definitely was old school. Though I no longer serve in Jeff City I know we who knew him will miss him.
Mike Wolff
retired judge
Supreme Court of Missouri

Annette Clark

Posted at 04:59pm
Beloved by many. Deeply loved by his dear friends: Annette Clark, The Christina & Andrew Ketterman Family, & The Jennifer & David Steinmeier Family
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Annette Clark purchased flowers for the family of Robert Watson. Send Flowers


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