OBITUARY

William "Mr. Bill" Marshall Watt

August 22, 1936September 20, 2020
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William Marshall Watt, also known by his gang name, “Mr. Bill”, 84, of Annapolis, Md, passed away peacefully on September 20, 2020.

Bill was born in Omaha, Nebraska to parents Alexander M. Watt and Mamilu (Tyrrel) Watt. At the age of 14 he moved to Washington, D.C. where he attended McKinley High School graduating in January of 1954.

In 1964 he married Norma Ward in Georgetown and fathered 3 children, William, Nancy and Jennifer. Bill and Norma divorced after 32 years of marriage. He is survived by his daughters Nancy Harr of Atlanta, Ga. And Jennifer Watt of Salisbury, Md. His three grandchildren, Vance, Pierce, and Fritz. His partner C. Taney Hamill of Annapolis, Md and many close friends who he considered family.

In early 1956 he joined the U.S. Coast Guard attending ET School in Groton, Connecticut and graduated 2nd in his class. He served as an Electronics Technician (ET3) and was stationed in Bermuda for 2 years. After his release from active military service in 1958 he served in reserve status until his honorable discharge in 1962. While on active duty, his peers had convinced him that he was smart, and he should be an engineer. It was this encouragement and support that allowed him to believe in himself and drove him to begin his next chapter which would result in an incredible, accomplishment-filled career with NASA.

In 1961 Bill joined NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center where he spent the next 32 years working on in-flight and ground data systems development projects with increasing complexity and responsibility. He served as the Landsat Project Image Generation Facility Manager which at that time, the Landsat IGF was the largest and most complex facility of its kind ever constructed by Goddard Space Flight Center. He also spent 8 years working on the International Space Station project focusing on the operational communications and information processing services required by the Space Station. During this time Bill traveled to 5 different countries multiple times to manage the implementation responsibility across the different agencies and countries.

While working at NASA/GSFC, Bill also attended The University of Maryland graduating in 1973 with a B.S. Degree in Mathematics and Computer Science.

So, after 32 years and with numerous awards, and other various recognition, most people would crack open a beer, take their government pension and head to the beach to celebrate their retirement. While Bill still cracked open that beer, it was to celebrate “double dipping”.

In 1993, after retiring from NASA, he joined CSC (Computer Science Corporation) to, as his children understood it, do the exact same thing he did at NASA. His plan was to stay long enough to vest into their pension (5 years) and then retire for good. During his time with CSC he performed lead system engineering activities for various projects. He was the Mission Integrator for Landsat 7 and at the time the only non-civil servant enabled to act as the “book boss” for all Landsat related documents. In 2003 he received a peer award for “Steady Helm” from the GSFC Flight Programs and Project Directorate. The award stated “With highest respect for your endless dedication and exceptional work ethic and the key role you played in the success of Landsat 7, Terra, Aqua, ICESat, and for your current work on Aura”. In 2004, he received the President’s Award for Client Satisfaction in the Information and Technology Science Solutions Division of the Science and Information Services business area. Both honors meant a lot to him.

It’s no surprise Bill did not retire after 5 years. 12 years later, Bill was explaining to his children how much he loved his job, what he did, and the people he worked with. What they heard, “he was scared to retire”.

Finally, in 2005, Bill retired from CSC. He cracked open a beer but there was no celebration. Bill then went to bed because he had to rest for his new job at SGT, Inc. Bill told his kids it was an “offer he couldn’t refuse”. More importantly, he was able to continue working on projects he loved with people he respected. It was also during this time that Bill began to “winter” in Naples, Fl.

Bill did finally retire, for real, in 2010. It was very shortly after that, Bill, who was afraid of retirement because he had no hobbies and didn’t know what he would do, was heard muttering, “Damn it, why didn’t I do this sooner”.

Bill was an avid reader with a passion for mystery/suspense/police and legal procedural books. Going to the library was one of his favorite things do. He kept a spreadsheet of all the books he read and which ones he needed to reserve at the library. Going to the library every Saturday morning as a child with dad is one the fondest memories his oldest daughter has.

Speaking of spreadsheets, Bill was a highly organized and methodical man. He kept a spreadsheet for everything. Knowing when all the batteries were last changed in various electronic devices was just one example of what you would find carefully documented. Every aspect of his life could be found neatly managed in a spreadsheet.

Anyone who knows Bill, knew that he loved to walk. He would walk during his lunch breaks at work. When he first moved to Annapolis, he loved walking the Navel Academy. He even joined a hiking club at one point! Over the years his walking locations changed (yes, Bill was a “mall walker”) but he always started his day with an hour walk.

However, Bill was not all books and spreadsheets. He was no stranger to a deck of cards. He was a master bridge player and had regular poker games with friends. He was a lifelong (and often disappointed) Redskins fan. He enjoyed going to the Nationals baseball games with Milton, Rick, Patty and Tripp and could be found at most Navy home games at “the class of no class” tailgate. Bill also had a brief stint as a boat owner, a little-known fact about him. He quickly learned that its better to have friends with boats, wisdom he promptly shared with his daughters.

One of his most favorite things were his weekend “road trips” with Milton. As Milton’s wingman, they would head north, east, or south for various adventures and end the day at the Davis’ Pub.

Over the years Bill had several local hangouts but the Davis’ Pub is where you would most likely find him with a Coors Light in hand. He loved Annapolis and all the close friends he made over the years. He took the time to get to know the people around him.

Bill was passionate about conservation and supported several national and local conservation programs. It was through his work that he saw firsthand how the earth was changing.

Lastly, Bill was a great father. He was his daughters biggest advocate and champion. He was so great at giving his advice or opinion in way that never passed judgement. His love was unconditional no matter the mistakes or bad decisions his children made. Providing and supporting his family was his priority. Bill would be the first person to tell you he lived a great life. Keeping up with the Jones’s was never his thing. Everything in his life had a purpose and meant something to him. He loved his family, his friends and his Annapolis community. He will always be remembered and deeply missed.

In lieu of flowers (even though Bill loved them) please consider donating to: The World Wildlife Fund The Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Services

  • Memorial Service

    Saturday, October 3, 2020

Memories

William "Mr. Bill" Marshall Watt

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William Butler

September 27, 2020

On behalf of the Golden Techites of McKinley Tech High School, we extend our condolences to Bill's family and friends.

Sherri Shettle

September 25, 2020

Oh Bill, remember all the Parade of Lights parties at Milton's house and all the good times at the Davis Pub. You were good friends, you and Taney. You will be missed but I’m happy to have known you in this life, and I hope we all see you in the next.

Sharyn Lee

September 25, 2020

I knew Bill as Taney's boyfriend for the past 14 years. They spent much time together, going to lawn concerts on Tuesday, Navy games and of course, at Davis'. I know they loved wintering in Naples, driving furiously (no bathroom breaks) to make it in 14 hours!
Bill was a very important person to many people, but his relationship with Taney was cherished and she was the light of his life during their years together.
Every time I visited, Bill would always say how wonderful Taney was and that she was a great cook. He was truly grateful when she "finally" learned how to make HIS Bloody Mary...!

Patty Templeton

September 25, 2020

Mr. Bill was one of my best buds. I am enjoyed working the football and Preakness pools. Yes he was the spread sheet guy. He had all the horses and odds.
He was also very generous to Tripp’s baseball teams throughout the years.
We truly loved him and Rick, Tripp and I will miss him very much.

Michael Hughes

September 25, 2020

Bill was one of those special people that come along once in a lifetime...always greeting friends and friends he had not yet met with a great big smile and a "how ya doin?" It was a privilege to get to know Bill and so blessed he was a part of our lives.

Mike Hollinger

September 24, 2020

A truly great guy and good friend. Memories go way back including Smoking Loon for my wife's birthday and so much more. That smile was always there at the ready for all to share!

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