Commander James W. Watts


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Commander James W. Watts, U.S. Navy, retired, died on July 20, 2016 in Rockaway Beach, Oregon. Born in Benton, Franklin County, Illinois, he was the eldest son of Claud R. Watts and Mayme Jane (Waller) Watts on October 3, 1926. He joined the Navy in 1943 after attending Benton Township High School, volunteering for submarine service; serving in submarine Stingray during WWII. He subsequently served in submarines Amberjack, Cero, Croaker and Corporal through 1955 while achieving the rating of Chief Petty Officer. Promoted to Warrant Officer and then commissioned Ensign in 1956 he served in destroyers Cowel and Cushing. Subsequent duties included Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, the oiler Kankakee. Tours of duty as Commanding Officer of USS Los Alamos and USS Whitesands was followed by assignment of Chief Engineer of the USS White Plains, the Navy’s first fully automated propulsion control system.


Following duties as Repair Superintendent at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard and Maintenance Officer of the Reserve Flee in San Diego he retired in 1974.


After retirement, he was employed as Dockmaster and Assistant Repair Superintendent at National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. in San Diego from 1975-1981.


He married Ilene (Lund) Watts in 1977 expanding his family with numerous members; at his death, in addition to three daughters and a stepson, there are 10 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren. Jim and Ilene moved to Tillamook and live there from 1981 until 1991 when they moved to Rockaway Beach.


He is survived by wife Ilene of Rockaway Beach, Oregon; a sister Imie Camelli of Nehalem, Oregon; daughter Erica Watts of Ramona, California; Imi Grant of Spring Valley, California; Carlotta Watts of Chula Vista, California; and stepson Dr. John L. Lund of Murray, Utah.


He was active in the Rockaway Beach community, serving as Mayor in 1995-1996. He was a member of the Elks, VFW, Lions and found member of Meals for Seniors. At his request, no services will be observed. Donations should be made to charitable, non-profit organizations.