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Thread: Remembering Stephen M Watson 10/14/1952-1/20/2012

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    Default Remembering Stephen M Watson 10/14/1952-1/20/2012

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    Many of you know, my father in law passed last Friday. Although he was not the type to join an internet forum such as this, he would have fit perfectly on this forum. I was privileged to know him, my son was privileged to know his Papa for the time he did and my wife loved him dearly. You all at least deserve to meet him.

    Steve was born in Everitt as the son of a policeman who eventually became chief of the local police. His father Loren exposed him to the Washington outdoors and the hunting, fishing and shooting to be done there. He married Debbie in 1979. They moved to Alaska in 1984 after having their first child, Nick. They had two more, my beautiful wife Shayna and her younger brother Jake. They originally lived in Anchorage, but built their own house in Peters Creek and have lived there since 1994, I think. Steve worked for GCI until full term retirement which he began two years ago. He lost his battle to lung cancer last Friday.

    Like any hunter/fisher, Steve had moved to the ‘Promised Land’ and wasted no time in getting out into the great outdoors. He took moose, caribou, black bear, Kodiak deer and has been part of brown bear hunts. You name it, he’s fished it. A back injury in the late 90’s curtailed most of his outdoors activities but he maintained an annual trip to Talkeetna to fish for silvers. He frequently brought the whole family along, especially fishing and camping. My wife still remembers the annual summer trip to fish as some of her favorite family memories. My family was similar (different river, same tradition) and I intend to keep that tradition as long as my kids live in this state. Few things are as fun and memorable as family fish camp in the Alaska sun (or rain).

    Although he was past his prime outdoor days, Steve was the supreme storyteller/advice giver/total bull****er as long as I knew him. He was always ready and willing to tell me stories about Kodiak, Prince William Sound, Cantwell or wherever else he had been. He was always ready to talk guns, reloading, animals, hunting areas and all other forms of life (family, kids, finances, cars, home repair). I could tell he was pleased that his daughter had married some guy who shared some things with him and I felt warmth from him about the status of our life. That’s a blessed thing, to know that your in-laws actually approve of you. Not that it matters, but still….
    Born in Alaska: The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. Psalm 16:6

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    In my mind, Steve will leave two things as his endearing legacy: An over the top commitment to family and ridiculous generosity.

    This picture (with my niece) sums up what we jokingly called his ‘animal magnetism.’ That is, I have never seen a baby or animal that didn’t warm up to him and love him. He just had that warm, Santa-like, quality that kids and animals just swarmed to. That picture better sums up how he spent his time, especially after retirement. If one of his grandkids was there, he was all over them, with his furry pets usually tagging along. While he stayed home most of the time (because of his back pain), the door was always open to any of the kids or grandkids. I can honestly assess that spending time with his family was his highest priority these last years. He was always dropping the invitation or making something happen so that we would come over and stay. If anything ever needed fixed, he would offer to fix it if we could get it to him and his epic garage. When I decided to go to college 3 years ago, he was the first one to do babysitting so my wife could work and I could make my classes. The 56 year old retiree stepped to the front of the line, rather than a friend of ours or a day-care. More than that, he wouldn’t take no for an answer. He insisted. These are just the things he did for my family. It would take too long to talk about what he’s done for Shayna’s brothers and their families. I’ll just say it wasn’t favoritism. The man believed in doing anything with/for his family and walked it out.

    His generosity was outstanding. In part, it was because the penultimate stockpiler and packrat. You name the tool, he had 4 of them, even if he didn’t use it. He’s loaned me all kinds of stuff and given me all kinds of stuff. The ammo I used this year, was loaded on a full RCBS kit that he gave me. He gave that one to me as a ‘peace gift’ after one of our few big fights early on. He paid for my wife’s engine to be replaced when it croaked. He refused to let us pay him back. This quality again, was spread for all his kids and even other people. He offered an extra bedroom for months to a friend of Nick’s who was out of work and homeless. The man never thought twice about giving away something he had.

    Writing this has actually been enjoyable. I had a wonderful father in law and the time I knew him was a major blessing and reflecting on it makes me smile. The biggest comfort was his standing with God. This past year, he frequently expressed that he was not worried about anything. “I’ve got things set up very well for Debbie and I know where I’m going. It doesn’t bother me at all.”, he would casually say. Praise be to Jesus, who is faithful to people like Steve, and to all of us. I hope all of you would be able to say the same thing. One of God’s blessings to me and to my family was Stephen M Watson, who is passed now, but left behind many things that will last forever.
    Born in Alaska: The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. Psalm 16:6

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    I have to say that the support and offers of the people on this forum exceeds anything I could expect or deserve. I have been offered so much advice, experience, time and things from people on this forum. This is so much more than a place where we can argue about .280 AI vs 7mm-08. When everything started happening, I told my wife ‘I bet I could find someone on the forums who would offer air mileage.’ She looked at me skeptically for a second and then her face changed when she remembered all the things that have happened on this forum for strangers. Sure enough, we had three people offer the air miles, one person offer cash and multiple people offer to buy the gun. We sold the gun but felt no need to take anything else, because the brother didn’t need to go. I’m floored that you anybody would do that for a stranger. I want to thank you all and express that I feel to be a member of this forum is to be a member of a truly special and privileged club. No place like Alaska, no people like Alaskans. God bless. Andrew
    Born in Alaska: The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. Psalm 16:6

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Mr Andrew,,

    May the peace of the Lord be on your family in this time of Mr Stephen's passing. I'm sure he will live on in the memories of those who knew and loved him. Prayers sent Sir!!


    Steve
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
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    Member Roland on the River's Avatar
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    Andrew, your father in law is looking down and saying WOW, that son in law sure was a great guy. Your writeup kinda choked me up. Good job. Peace to you and the wife.

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    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    Andrew, I am sure your father in law is looking down now and wondering how he got so lucky by having such a great son in law like you. That is an amazing eulagy you wrote on here and I can tell you truly loved Steve. My prayers are with you and your family.

    Rob

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    He sounds like a fine man. And he lives on in you and in the many lives he touched. Thanks so much for sharing him with us.

    Regards,

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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    You got me all choked up. that remimdem me of my grandpa who won't be here for to much longer either.

    I hope you took in all that you could of him. thank you for sharing this post
    Eccleasties 8:11 Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, There for the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil.

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    Well written sir. As Fur said, he reminds me of my Grandpa too. I'm sorry for your and our loss. God Bless.

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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing the memories and he does indeed sound like a man worth knowing and many were better off having known him. May the Lord provide you and your family strenght and comfort during this difficult time. God Bless
    Semper Fi and God Bless

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    Sounds like he was a great man. Prayers go out to your family.
    Is it opening day of duck season yet
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    Not every man is privileged to have a Father-in-law like that. You were blessed. My condolences to you and your family.

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