Art was born in Saskatoon, Sask. on January 3, 1930 to parents, Maud Mary Watson (nee North) and Charles Henry Watson.Â Â Art attended King George School in Saskatoon, Mt. Lehman Elementary and Abbotsford Secondary in Abbotsford, BC.Â Art’s brother, Alec, once wrote of Art’s childhood that his personality was always pleasant.Â He had to laugh when he remembered the time Art brought home a truckload of goats.Â Their favorite family meal was Sunday dinner with roast beef, Yorkshire pudding and all the fixings.Â
Art met his wife, Mabel, at the Mt. Lehman store where Mabel lived and worked.Â They got married on Dec. 3, 1948 and lived in a small house on his Âbrothers’ (Sid and Alec Fleet) farm on Mt. Lehman Road.Â Art and Mabels’ first daughter, Gay, was soon born and shortly after they moved to Jarvis Inlet where Art worked in the logging camp.Â In 1951 they moved to Alberta and lived on a battery between Devon and Calmar.Â Lynn, their first son, was born in Edmonton in 1952, followed by Judi in 1954.Â In 1957 the family moved to Pouce Coupe, BC where Art worked for Pacific Petroleum.Â Janet was born in 1958 in Ft. St. John and soon after the family moved back to Alberta and resided in Calmar until 1967.Â Keith was born in 1965 and during this period of time, Art was a partner in a wireline business.Â Following that, Art worked for Porta-Test Engineering in Edmonton.Â While working for the company, Art spent 6 months in Iran and was able to bring Mabel there for a holiday together.Â In 1967 most of the family moved to Edmonton but Gay was already attending university in Vancouver.Â During this time, their last son, Jeff, became part of the family.
Art started another partnership, Watson Well Services, and later he, Mabel and Keith moved to Edson, Alberta where they started a spring water company for Sierra as well as remaining in the oil and gas industry.Â
In 1994, Art and Mabel moved to Courtenay, BC where they had purchased over 6 acres many years previous.Â They subdivided and lived in their new home to the present day.Â Art was glad not to have to shovel any more snow and he and Mabel enjoyed boating and camping on the many lakes in the area and especially on the ocean.Â Art also took up bee keeping and even built his own garage single-handed.Â It was a place to continue working on his carpentry projects – all his children cherish the wooden toys and projects he created over the years.
Art had numerous hobbies and interests during his lifetime:Â fishing, camping, hunting, woodworking, bee keeping, wine making, winning at playing cards (we won’t go there), whistling, teaching his children and grandchildren silly songs, and especially his love of dogs.Â He built the family home in Calmar as well as boats and trailers.Â He was thought to have invented the first fold down tent trailer and would cause quite a stir whenever he and the family would arrive in a campground and set it up.Â He loved spending time with his family and instilled in them a love of the outdoors and the many hobbies and interests he had.
An interesting aside: Art’s grandmother, “Grannie” Franklin, lived to be almost 105 and was related to Benjamin Franklin.
Art was regarded as one of the pioneers of the oil and gas industry in Alberta and BC, with a career spanning over 40 years!
He will be lovingly remembered for his dry humor, patient manner and his strong commitment to family and family values.Â He inspired his children to follow their passions and was always there if they needed him.Â He was proud to be Mabel’s husband and loved her even more now that he did when they first dated (if that could be possible).
Art passed away peacefully on August 27, 2006 at the age of 76, with his wife and children at his bedside.Â A special thanks goes out to the staff of the Cariboo 100 Mile House General Hospital.
He is survived by his wife, Mabel Watson of Courtenay, BC, his dog, Jasper, children Gay Watson of Abbotsford, BC, Lynn (Audrey) Watson of Thorsby, Alberta, Judith Watson (David Milligan) of Houston, Texas, Janet Watson (Ben Dawson) of Edmonton, Alberta, Keith (Sheri) Watson of Carvel, Alberta, and Jeff (Irene) Watson of Edmonton, Alberta, 9 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren.Â He is also survived by his sister, Evelyn Dease of Courtenay, BC and was predeceased by his 3 brothers, Eric Watson of Garden Bay, BC; Alec and Sid Fleet of Abbotsford, BC; sisters, Avice Dalke of Mission, BC and Jean Moore of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
Art will be cremated with a private interment to follow.Â A Celebration of Life service will be held in Spruce Grove on Friday, Sept. 1 at 1 pm at the Parkland Funeral Home in Stony Plain, Alberta.Â In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Emphysema Society.