Richard "Dick" Burnell Watson

December 13, 1941April 26, 2013
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Richard B. Watson “Dick”

Richard Burnell Watson, 71, passed away peacefully April 26, 2013 with his family by his side in Danville, CA. He was born on December 13, 1941 in Chatsworth, IL, the son of Burnell and Ruth Watson.

Dick grew up in a family of five children in the small town of Chatsworth, IL. He earned his civil engineering degree at the University of Illinois in 1965. After graduation he moved to California where he met his sweetheart, Marilyn Easter. They were married in Santa Maria, CA on June 22, 1968 and moved to Visalia where they raised three children. He worked for W.M. Lyles Company for 37 years, loved his work, and enjoyed the people with whom he worked.

Dick had an infectious zest for life and he never missed a chance to joke. He dearly loved his family, grandchildren, and friends and he had a knack for making everyone around him feel good about themselves. He recently celebrated his 50th year as a private pilot. He had a lifelong passion for trains and was an avid golfer. In his retirement, Dick and Marilyn enjoyed travelling with family and friends and visiting grandchildren.

Dick was an active member of the Visalia community through the years. He was a parishioner of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Visalia and was active in the Visalia Rotary Club, Visalia YMCA, the Tulare County Library Foundation, the Santa Teresita Youth Community Center in Three Rivers and numerous other organizations. He was also a member of the AOPA pilot association and the American Rail Car Association.

He is survived by his loving wife and partner, Marilyn Watson, their three children and spouses: Kim and Rob Hensley, Kevin and Julie Watson, and Debbie and Scott Rumsey. He has seven grandchildren who adore him -- Ellie, Maggie, and Jake Hensley; Grant and Lauren Watson, and Nate and Katie Rumsey. He is also survived by his siblings Pat Haskins, Ruth Bazzell, Cletus Watson, Theresa Watson, numerous nieces and nephews, and more than a few golf buddies.

Visitation will begin at 3 pm on Wednesday May 1, 2013 at Miller Memorial Chapel (1120 W. Goshen Ave., Visalia, CA) with scripture readings and tributes at 6 pm. Funeral mass will be held on Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 10:30 am at St. Mary’s Catholic Church (608 N. Church Street, Visalia, CA) with interment following at Visalia District Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Visalia Community Rotary Foundation, 1220 W. Center Ave., Visalia, CA 93291, the Santa Teresita Youth Conference Center, P.O. Box 249, Three Rivers, CA 93271 or the Tulare County Library Foundation, 200 W. Oak Avenue, Visalia, CA 93291.

Tributes and condolences may be made at

Arrangements entrusted to Miller Memorial Chapel, 1120 W. Goshen Avenue, Visalia, CA 93291 (559) 732-8371.


  • Visitation Wednesday, May 1, 2013
  • Prayer Service Wednesday, May 1, 2013
  • Funeral Service Thursday, May 2, 2013

Richard "Dick" Burnell Watson

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May 22, 2013

Oh, Marilyn & family...we were out-of-the-country when Leah informed us of sweet Dick's passing. We were all so surprised and saddened. We will always remember Dick's infectious smile and his welcoming spirit, as well as yours. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Rejoicing with Dick, but grieving with each of you. Looking forward to the day when we will all be together again! Love to all, Glen & Becky Cardaronella

Greg Kyburz

May 8, 2013

Joanne Isle Hopkins

May 6, 2013

Dear Marilyn... I am so sorry to hear of Dick's passing. Please know my heart and prayers are with you and your family. Joanne Isle Hopkins

May 5, 2013

Hi Marilyn and Family
Well where do I start? I guess I must start with yesterday. A beautiful farwell to Dick and a true testiment to his character as a friend, family man, and spiritual man in every sense of the word. I Thank God for giving me the opportunity to know both of you. I learned so much watching and talking with you both as individuals and as a couple over these past 2 years. You absoultely knew how to turn lemons into lemonade. You both helped me grow also as a person.

Memories - There have been many - Carmel after Dick's Diagnosis, Pebble Beach for a week playing golf in the day time and Mexican Train at nignt, Kaweah Han in October, dinners, and my last and possible best visit with Dick on April 14th.

The final round of the Masters - watching with a close friend, 4 hours together with him - In-N-Out Burger & Fries - NO SALT- Yum - talking some of the time, quiet some of the time. Time out from tournament to retire to the Pool Room-Train Room -Dick and I Reminiscing about many items in this special place, then back to watching the Masters. During the Masters, Dick asked if I wanted some Popcorn and I said fine if you are having some, He asked what I wanted to drink with the popcorn - I said water would be fine but he brings an Ice cold beer mug with WATSON on the mug. Here it was I went to visit Dick to serve him and before I knew it he was serving me- a prime example as to how he lived his life- always making sure everyone else was taken care of ---

I hope I can express this last part about the way I felt on our last visit. The reason for the details above was to relive our last time together. It has been therapy for me to write this and it solidifies how I felt spending time with a truly great and kind human being. This, of course, was also expressed by so many at the Rosary & Funeral. But guess what? - I had 4 uninterrupted hours with Dick - What a privilege!!

I cannot recall if anyone mentioned another attribute of Dick's. And that is whenever guests would leave (I know this was true for my visits and assume for all vistors) Dick would walk to the car , smiling and waving a heart warming "GOOD BYE" I will never forget our last good-bye -- I can picture him in the driveway as I drove away. I knew when I left time was very short and I had a lump in my throat all the way home. Dick was a very lucky guy to have you Marilyn and vice versa. What a team!!!

Bye for now

Padmini, Thushara & Nimasha Chandraratne

May 3, 2013

We were so sorry to hear of the loss of your loved one. We're sending you a hug from afar.

Jeff & Sharon Joseph

May 2, 2013

It's with the fondest of memories that we will always remember Mr. Watson's smile, kindness, humor and overall good nature. With our most heartfelt sympathies, we send thoughts of peace, love and courage to his family.

May 2, 2013

Marilyn, I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for the wonderful pictures you posted of your life together and your beautiful family. Clearly his was a life well lived and loved. Blessings to your family. Laura Munding Rhodes - Seattle WA

Cathy Iliff- Kovarik

May 2, 2013

Marilyn just read the sad news from our classmate. I am holding you, dick and your lovely family in my heart and prayers

kelly coulter

May 2, 2013

When you think of Dick Watson you can't help but have a smile on your face. Even though our families haven't seen each other in years, I still have very fond memories. The last time I saw him was at Orchard Hardware and he was driving the Mustang! That is actually how I recognized him. To Marilyn and the rest of the are in my thoughts and prayers. Kelly (Waltrip) Coulter

Charles Raynaud

May 2, 2013

The news of dick Watsons passing took the wind out of me .I can't say I've ever met a man with a more uplifting spirit.The last time I saw him he was surrounded by family an friends.The way he interacted with his grandchildren was a scene I will never forget and hope to mimic some day.Dick was one of those truly rare individuals and I am lucky to have known him