W1HS Edward B Watts SK May 6, 2012
DEER ISLE and PORT RICHEY, Fla. - Edward Boynton Watts, 88, went with the Lord May 6, 2012, at his winter home. Born Sept. 13 1923, in Stonington, he was the son of Russell Raymond Watts and Bina Small Watts; and great-great-great-great-grandson of Nathaniel Robbins. Edward pursued a long career in electronic engineering and felt privileged to be in the RCA Labs as radar was being developed in the early 1940s. Along came World War II and answering his country's call he was commissioned in the U.S. Merchant Marines as chief radio operator, serving in the Atlantic and Pacific war zones. He was assigned to the Liberty Ship, Joseph A. Wheeler, supplying ammunition to the battlefront at Anzio, Italy, and Naples, Italy. Transferring to another ship in fall 1943, he escaped death in Bari, Italy, in the most disastrous bombing attack against allied ships during the war when 17 ships were bombed and sunk, including the Jospeh A. Wheeler and all went down with their ships. In January 1944, arriving at the battlefront at Anzio, Italy, loaded with ammunition, his ship was in collision during a storm with another vessel, ramming and slicing through his ship at the waterline and into his stateroom. Orders were received to plug the hole with mattresses and proceed up the coast to the warfront at Naples, Italy, where ammunition was desperately needed. After World War II Edward returned to RCA Victor Corp. as a electronics engineer and was assigned to bases in the U.S. Air Force strategic air command indoctrinating the military on the use of the fire control system on the newly deployed B-52 bombers. This included bases at Limestone; Everett, Wash.; Springfield, Mo.; Warner Robins, Ga.; Newport News, Va., and Oklahoma City. In the late 1950s Edward saw the development and emergence of space technology and the atlas missile was becoming the first operational intercontinental ballistic missile in America's nuclear arsenal and the beginning of the U.S. space program. Rapid prototyping and development occurred with atlas missile sites being constructed across the country by the U.S. Air Force strategic air command. The project became the number one priority in the country, as it attained "national priority" status. The excitement of this new world of missiles overwhelmed Edward and he joined American Bosch Arma Corp. specializing in the guidance control system of the atlas project. He then participated in the installation and activation of projects at Forbes Air Force Base, Topeka, Kan., and Plattsburg Air Force Base, New York. In 1961 he became East Coast manager of atlas missile bases. On retiring from engineering in 1964, he settled in Camden, where he and his wife, a registered nurse, owned and operated Camden Nursing Home, formerly Camden Hospital. He became active in Maine Nursing Home Association and served on its board of directors. He was one of five founding fathers establishing Maine Nursing Home Administrators Association, developing its by-laws and writing exam required for membership. He holds the number one membership license. He was appointed Maine's delegate to the National Nursing Home Administrators Association and traveled extensively to its varied functions. Together with five friends and associates he owned and operated Camden Lok Marina, first of its kind of facility in the nation, offering safe mooring for yachts up to 42-feet long with full dry dock service and harborside street level docking space. Edward was a private pilot, flying one summer round trip from Georgia to Maine in his Luscomb with multiple emergency landings in abandoned remote race tracts, as well a cow pastures when inclement weather grounded him. Edward loved the sea and spent many summers cruising the Maine coast with his wife, Edith, in their sport fisherman, the Shelly K named for granddaughter, Michele, and he looked forward with great anticipation to participating in the annual Maine Bailey Island tuna tournament. Hunting season took them annually to the Northern Maine woods for partridge hunting, Penobscot Bay islands for sea duck hunting and Southern Maine for deer. He traveled the world over and did extensive genealogical research in Scotland and England.
Edward was an active ham radio amateur all his life, receiving his original license at 17 in November 1940, with original call sign of W1NAE, later W1HS. At age 11, in 1934, he built his first operational transmitter with old spare parts. He was an active member of American Radio Relay League and an accredited examiner. He was a lifetime member of Society of Wireless Pioneers, first class radio telegraph operator ship radar endorsement, radio telephone operator to operate license for radio station, first class amateur extra radio-telephone operators privileges. He belonged to the Ten-Ten International and Quarter Century Wireless Association. Edward received appointment by Gov. Kenneth Curtis as dedimus justice and served as Hancock County's dedimaus for 40-plus years. He was also a justice of the peace and notary. Edward held memberships in Maine Lodge No. 122 AF & AM, Deer Isle; Acadia Chapter No. 31 RA, Ellsworth; Royal Arch Chapter of Maine; Blanquefort Commandery No. 13 Knights Templer, Ellsworth; Scottish Rite Bodies Valley of Rockland and Kansas City, Mo.; Anah Temple AAONMS, Bangor; Harbor View Chapter No. 136 Eastern Star, Deer Isle; was a member of Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association; Boothbay Harbor and Rockland yacht clubs; and National Rifle Association. During the past 40 years he and his wife have enjoyed winters at their Florida home and summers at Osprey Point, Deer Isle. He was predeceased by his brother, Robert Raymond Watts. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Edith (Goldie) Spofford Watts, R.N.; daughters, Deborah R. Watts, R.N., of Port Richey, Fla., and Brewer, and Susan G. Watts, C.R.N.A of Lincolnville and Port Richey, Fla., and her husband, a very special son-in-law, Daniel Jacobs; granddaughter, Michele Sprague Tepper and her husband, Stephen Tepper; and great-grandsons, Jack Watts Tepper and James Sprague Tepper, all of Shrewsbury, Mass. He is also survived by sisters, Dorothy Pagliarulo and her husband, Pete Pagliarulo, and Mildred Kelley of Bristol, Conn.; along with several nieces and nephews. A private celebration of Edward's life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children, 516 Caren St., Springfield, MA 01101.
Published in BDN Maine on May 16, 2012