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March 21, 1926 - February 16, 2017
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It is with sadness that the family announces the death of Andrew James Watson on Thursday, February 16, 2017 at the Sherbrooke Veterans Village, Korea House in Saskatoon. A first generation Canadian, Andy was born on the family homestead near Keeler on March 21, 1926. As the oldest boy he worked hard on the family farm. His family moved to Francis in 1942 during WW II. Like many young men of those tough economic times, he enlisted when he was sixteen. He was sent to boot camp at Dundurn, where he remembered meeting T. C. Douglas who was then chaplain for the South Saskatchewan Regiment. Andy was then sent to Camp Borden for training in vehicle and tank mechanics and policing before going off to Shilo, Manitoba for parachute training and a motorcycle course. His training complete, Andy left for Great Britain on the troop carrier Aquitania departing from Halifax in 1944. While in Europe, Andy was active in various capacities as a military police officer and tank driver in France, Holland and Germany.
When Andy came home from the war he married the love of his life, Lillian Turner. They were married in St. Alban's Cathedral (Prince Albert) on December 20, 1946. In that year, Andy bought an old Harley-Davidson motorcycle which he fixed up and painted. He joined the Thunderbird Bike Club in PA and he and Lillian would ride up north to Sandy Lake and down south to Keeler - all on gravel roads. For a short period of time, Andy worked for the Department of Highways as a truck driver. He then apprenticed in cabinet making and millwork at PA Manufacturing and Millwork where he achieved his journeyman status in carpentry. In 1954, Andy and Lillian moved to Moose Jaw where he was employed as a mill foreman for over 20 years at Cushing RL Millwork. In Moose Jaw, they raised two girls, Cheryl (Hrapchak) and Colleen Watson-Turner. In 1974 Andy and Lillian moved to an acreage in Prince Albert. Andy worked for the the Department of Northern Saskatchewan where he built and installed cabinets in northern schools. He retired in 1982 but continued to be busy with carpentry and mechanical projects.
Andy was a skilled craftsman with excellent drafting, carpentry and mechanical skills. He had a shop full of various saws and tools all of which he put to good use. He built staircases, railings, cabinets, chairs, tables, and houses. He loved to go to the Raider hockey games and to go fishing. He always enjoyed a good newspaper and he read as many Louis L'Amour westerns as he could get his hands on. He was a solid family man with salt-of-the-earth values. He was completely dedicated to the well-being of Lillian, his children and grandchildren. In 2007, his beloved wife died after a lengthy, difficult illness. During this period, Andy took tender loving care of her. It didn't go unnoticed as one nurse put her hands on his shoulders and said, “you are a good, good man.” And he was, all that and more.
Andy was predeceased by his parents, George and May Watson (Chick) and his brothers Norman (Dorothy) and Donald (Garth). He is survived by his daughters Cheryl (Don) and Colleen (Michael) and his grandchildren Annette, Alison (Blair), Melissa (Michael), April (Sean), Tyler and A.J. and his great-grandchildren Ethan, Aidan, Rowyn, Ewan, Myah, Nuala Jean, Bodhi, Noah and Ari. Andy is also survived by his sisters Shirley (Art) and Margaret (Ian) and many nephews and nieces.
Andy's family wishes to thank the wonderful staff who made a home for him in the Sherbrooke Veterans Village. They provided Andy with exemplary love, care and friendship in an atmosphere of respect for the entirety of his life. We are so grateful for the people and philosophy of care within the Sherbrooke community. In our estimation, the staff at Sherbrooke represent the best of what it means to be human and we cannot thank them enough. Our beloved father and grandfather was happy and safe in their hands and they became an extension of his family. Thank you.
Donations in lieu of flowers can be sent in Andy's name to the Sherbrooke Veterans Village care of the Sherbrooke Community Centre (401 Acadia Drive, Saskatoon, SK, S7H 2E7.)
Come summer, Andy and Lillian's ashes will be scattered near a small church by the North Saskatchewan River. Announcement to follow.