Charles J. Watson


Charles "Chuck" James Watson, 85, of Traverse City, formerly of Cass City and Birmingham, Michigan, passed away peacefully on Saturday, May 4, 2019 at Samaritas Senior Living.
Chuck was born on Aug. 24, 1933 in Caro to the late Vern and Eva (Huffman) Watson. He married the love of his life, Carol Howarth, on June 23, 1956 in Cass City.
Chuck proudly served his country in the U.S. Air Force, where his interest in electrical engineering began.
He earned his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Michigan State University in 1961.
Over the course of his career, Chuck had been employed with Westinghouse, Boeing and finally, Ford Motor Company, from where he retired after 26 years of employment. While with Boeing he was the electrical engineer to sign off on the original 737 aircraft. At Ford Chuck led the development of the cruise control system in the HeavyTruck division.
He was a member of the U.S. Sail and Power Squadron and the Northern Michigan Ford retirees.
He loved to travel, taking countless camping trips with his family, being out in nature enjoying wildlife and playing golf with family and friends. He was a proud supporter of MSU.
He encouraged and generously helped support his children's and grandchildren's education. Above all, spending time with family and friends was his greatest joy. He was a kind and loving man and will be missed.
Chuck is survived by his devoted wife of 62 years, Carol; and two daughters and a son, Wendy (Eric Otting) Watson, Rebecca (Alan Morris) Watson and Daniel (Victoria) Watson. Also surviving are seven grandchildren, Grace and Clare Otting, Morgan and Aidan Watson-Morris, Clark "Jonah", Elijah and Mkenna Watson; a sister, Charlotte Sangster; as well as many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by two brothers and two sisters, Bill Watson, Robert Watson, Shirley Lynch and Nancy Naren.
A funeral service honoring Charles took place on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home.
Those planning an expression of sympathy may wish to consider a memorial donation to the American Diabetes Association - West Michigan, 1550 E. Beltline Ave. SE, Suite 250, Grand Rapids, MI 49506.
Please feel free to share your thoughts and memories with Chuck's family at his tribute page at
The family is being cared for by the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home and Cremation Services.
Published on May 12, 2019
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