Johnny James Watson, Sr. was born into the union of John Lex Watson and Maggie Eddins on August 3, 1935 in Jay, Florida, just two years after the end of the Great Depression. He was born at his family's farm house in the Pine Level community. The hands who ushered him from his mother's womb were those of his Grandmother Hawthorne. He was blessed with loving, God fearing parents and a large family. Johnny lived in the Jay area most of his life and he loved "God's Country" as he sometimes called it. Johnny passed away at the age of 82 at the home of his oldest daughter, Amanda, on January 5, 2018 in MiIton, Florida with his family surrounding him.
He grew up farming in the fields of Jay, Florida and Elba, Alabama with his family for many years and eventually worked a host of jobs before he was hired as an inspector for the State of Florida Department of Agriculture, where he spent 25 years before retiring in 1996. Johnny was an extraordinary musician and singer who played multiple musical instruments. He was the front man and lead singer for a number of bands. One of which was the Good Times Band, his favorite instrument was the bass guitar. He played music and sang at numerous venues throughout the local area as well as in Mobile, Alabama for time spanning over forty years. Johnny was charismatic and charming, especially when he flashed his million dollar smile while crooning in his sultry, smooth voice. Many were said to have hearts fluttered when he sang.
Johnny rarely ever said a harsh word about anyone preferring to not say anything at all even toward those who were the most deserving of harsh criticism. He was a friend to all who would let him. He was a hard worker and one who often chose to fix things himself, whether he had the aptitude for the task or not. He would often say,"I am either going to fix it or tear it up worse”, often in more colorful language.
Johnny left behind a large family and countless friends made over the years wherever he lived or worked. Johnny was married and divorced several times and his unions brought forth seven children. He was preceded in death by his former wife, and sweetheart Janice Charlene Michael Watson who bore him five of those children.
Johnny is survived by his children, Billy Watson (Dianne), Amanda Watson, Johnny Watson, Jr. (Tammy), Chris Watson (Bonita), Mike Watson, Mark Watson (Louise) and Jonathon Watson. He had 14 grandchildren, Zackary, Canaan, Seth, Adam, Brandy, Kelly, Konner, Sydney, Racheal, Taylor, Taylia, Tylan, Mackenzie, and Landon. He is also survived by 6 great-grandchildren, Felicity, Aubrey, Emelia, Scarlett, Paisley and Jaxon.
Johnny is also survived by his adoring siblings, Annie Merle Rogers (Doug), Dennis Watson,Sr. (Patsy), Jimmy Watson (Linda), Bonnie Dole, Brenda Calhoun (Phil), and Clifton Watson. Johnny's sister, Jean Marie Warrick and youngest brother, Doyle Dwayne Watson preceded him in death as did his loving parents, John Lex and Maggie Watson.
He leaves behind a large extended family of nephews, nieces and cousins, too numerous to name. His family, even the extended family remained a close and vital part of his life, even unto his last breath. They were all very near and dear to his heart.
A Celebration of Johnny's life will be held on Wednesday, January 10, 2018. Visitation will be held from 1:00PM to 3:00PM with a service immediately following at True Worship Assembly of God, 13297 Hwy 87, Jay, FL 32565. The pallbearers, who are family so close to him, will be John Watson, Dennis Watson, Jr., Clint Sheffield, Justin Sheffield, Jarrett Watson, and Jason Watson. Graveside service to follow, in God's Country at Pine Level Cemetery in Jay, Florida.