Robert G. “Bob” Watts age 96, E Rose Lake Dr, Canyon MN died peacefully March 28, 2019. Bob was born in Duluth, MN November 12th 1922, was a former Duluth News Tribune Carrier & graduated from Duluth Central High School Class of 1940. At age 14 he became interested in the MN National Guard & following the footsteps of his father Geo, at age 16, he became a member of the Guard. He was inducted into Federal Service, along with 30 from his graduating class, on Feb 10th, 1941. He spent over 10 months of combat training in Louisiana, along with his father who was his 1st Sgt, with the 125th FA Battalion-34th “Red Bull” Infantry Division. On December 7th, 1941 along came Pearl Harbor and changed the life of millions. He was deployed to combat overseas in WW2 & served as Battalion Supply Sgt of the 125th FA, & spent over 500 days of combat in N Africa & Italy, including the battle of Hill 609 in Tunisia & the battle of Mt Cassino, Anzio in the Po Valley. When the American 34th Div captured the German 34th Div finally the Italian Campaign ended for the 125th, near Venice, on May 5th, 1945. After a surprise visit from his father in San Remo, he was then shipped back to the shores of US & discharged from Fed Service at Camp McCoy WI on Sept 1st, 1945. After he returned home he again reenlisted in the guard as 1st Lt in the Coastal Artillery & separated from the Armed Forces in 1949.
After the war Bob was employed by the FI Salter Co as Rental Mgr. Two years later he joined Allstate Ins Co as an ins agent in the Duluth Sears store. A year later he was transferred to the Milwaukee Office as Trainer of new agents. In 1950 he served Allstate as Sales Development Mgr in Dallas TX & opened Allstate’s numerous sales offices in Sears stores in the SW from New Orleans to Albuquerque, & was instrumental in helping create the logo “Good Hands With Allstate”. In 1958 he left Allstate to open his own independent ins agency in N Dallas. In 1961 he sold his agency and was appointed Sales Mgr of Niagara Health Equip in the Dallas Region. He also represented Certified Laboratories in Irving TX until returning back to Duluth to work for the US Postal Service & finally retired as a rural carrier on the Iron Range in 1984. Bob was a 55 year member of Branch 114 of the Nat’l Assn of Letter Carriers. He & his family have been year-round residents on Rose Lake for over 50 years & as a child growing up spent his summer months on the shores of the lake in his folks cabin in ”God’s Country”.
Bob was an avid deer hunter, for the past 84 yrs, co-founder of the Three Lakes Dev Assn, had been a member of the North Lakes Golf Assn for over 44 yrs, Past Pres of the Eveleth Curling Club, and past sect of the MN State Curling Assn. He held a life time membership in the Duluth Curling Club and was their draw master for over 37 years. He was also a member of the Milwaukee, Dallas, & Duluth Elks #133, Am Legion Post #71, & VFW 3044. He facilitated & helped develop the “Sunrise Survivor’s Group” at Sunrise Memorial Park, & was Pres, Tres, & Chaplain of the 125th FA Assn. For the past 45 years Rev Bob, as he is now called, has been active in organizing the placing of hundreds of American Flags on Vets graves at two Hermantown Cemeteries. With the depletion of his troops, he has gathered support from the Boy Scouts of Trp 106 in Hermantown, ever so loyal Ch 10 TV, & the much needed help from Col Dieryck’s 148th FW, to help the 125th to organize the Memorial Day program these past 12 years at Sunrise. The 125 FA Assn has been meeting monthly for the past 68 yrs at the Pickwick & he has kept in touch with over 200 Vets, widows, & families.
Rev Bob he has dedicated his life to family, TLDA, the DCC & 125th, He received the Volunteer Excellence Award in 2006.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents, George & Olga Watts; & his loving sister, Helen McBride.
Bob is survived by his loving wife of 50 years, Lorrie; 4 daughters, Rita Atol & Barb (Jerry Roberts) of Las Vegas, NV, Michelle (Les Lyons) of Proctor, MN, & Robin (Dan Cicmil) of Hibbing, MN; 3 sons, John (Jeanne Neal) of Plano, TX, Robert Jr (Debbie Neal) of Mansfield, TX, & Steve (Kim Watts) of Maple Grove, MN; & his brother George Jr (Carol Watts) of Canyon, MN. He was especially proud of his 17 grandchildren & his 13 great grandchildren plus 4 step grandchildren.
VISITATION: 9-11 am on Saturday, April 6th at Sunrise Funeral Home, 4798 Miller Trunk Hwy, with service to follow at 11 am. Interment at Sunrise Memorial Park Cemetery. Please feel free to wear something Patriotic. All memorials to be sent to the Boy Scouts Troop 106 in Hermantown or the building program at Sunrise Memorial Park.
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