June 14, 1928 – March 30, 2019
James Ernest Watt, age 90, of Madison CT passed away peacefully on Saturday, March 30, 2019 at home with family by his side. He was the husband of Eleanor (Wolfe) Watt, who he married on August 28, 1954. Jim was born on June 14, 1928 in Lincoln, Rhode Island, son of the late James Ernest Watt and M. Barbara Watt.
Jim graduated with a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) in 1950. Jim was a Veteran of the Korean War by serving in the Army’s Civil Engineering Corps in Europe. Following his Army service, he attended Yale University and earned a Graduate Certificate from the Bureau of Traffic and Highway Studies. He was a Registered Professional Engineer in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
Jim began his career as a Consultant Transportation Engineer in Providence, followed by a time in Boston where he helped design an elevated highway through Downtown Boston better known for decades as the Central Artery. He continued his career with firms based in Philadelphia, Tysons Corner, VA, and New Haven where he retired in 1993. During his career he became known as a bus systems expert. A notable project was designing the bus transportation used in Lake Placid for the 1980 Winter Olympics. He designed airport bus systems in locations that included Cebu, Philippines, the Panama Canal Zone, and the Denver Airport.
He was a member of the North Madison Congregational Church and was active as well in several hobbies. Of note, he competed and earned awards at annual meetings of the Universal Ship Cancellation Society. Jim was a member of the Institute of Traffic Engineers, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the Steamship Historical Society of America. His lifelong interests included everything encompassing buses, airports, trains and ships. He collected postmarks from U.S. Naval ships, commercial ships, cruise ships, ferries and mail boats. Jim also enjoyed collecting stamps and postcards from around the world. He loved planning trips and travel; he and Eleanor travelled extensively throughout Europe and Asia and enjoyed several cruises in the Pacific and Atlantic regions.
In addition to his wife Eleanor, Jim is survived by his son David Watt and wife Debbie of Bristol, RI; his daughter Nancy Emerson and husband Karl of Lewisberry, PA; his daughter Susan Hauver and husband Bert of Walkersville, MD, and his sister-in-law Delight Wolfe of Mystic, CT. He is also survived by eight grandchildren, Erick (Hilary) Emerson of Philadelphia, Ryan (Jenni) Emerson of York, PA, Peter Emerson of Richmond, RI, Amber Emerson of New York City, Alex Watt of Encinitas, CA, Jeffrey Watt of Bristol, RI, Sarah Hauver of New York City, and Maryellen Hauver of Walkersville, MD. In addition, Jim is survived by five great-grandchildren, Henry and Lucy Emerson of York, PA, and Andrew, Nathan and Ellie Emerson of Philadelphia.
A Memorial Service will be held on April 28th at 2:00 PM at North Madison Congregational Church for all family and friends. A committal service will be held at Elm Grove Cemetery in Mystic, CT at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the North Madison Congregational Church Scholarship Fund, 1271 Durham Road, Madison, CT 06443 or Scranton Memorial Library, 1250 Durham Road, Suite F, Madison, CT 06443.
2:00 pm - 2:00 pm
North Madison Congregational Church
1271 Durham Rd.