On Saturday morning, my Grandfather, Colin Stewart Watt Jr., passed away. He was 92. My full name is Justin Colin Watt. I’ve always known that I got my middle name from him. It only just occurred to me that I got two names from him. Most people knew him as “Stew”. I knew him as “Papa”.
The last time I saw him was two years ago during his 90th birthday. Here’s a great picture I took of him then with my Dad and Mom. Didn’t he look great at 90?
About a month ago he fell in his bathroom and really cut up his face. He was on blood thinners, and apparently lost a lot of blood. I felt bad the way anyone feels bad for someone far away who gets hurt—I pretty much expected him to get better. Later that week my mom called and told me he wasn’t doing well. This really knocked the wind out of me. In fact the reason we went out the night that Stephanie’s wallet and iPhone got stolen was to take our minds off it.
He recovered from that initial scare, but it was touch and go from then on. Towards the end of last week, we heard that one of his lungs had collapsed. He probably wouldn’t survive the night. That hit me pretty hard too. I thought that since he’d made it this far maybe he’d be ok. My uncle said his face had almost completely healed. He made it through one more day, but then passed away Saturday morning. Stephanie and I left for Buffalo, NY early on Sunday to be with my family this week.
In today’s Buffalo News, there was a very nice obituary.
Colin S. Watt Jr., retired aircraft design engineer
March 3, 1917 — Nov. 21, 2009
Colin S. Watt Jr. of Orchard Park, a retired design engineer for Bell Aerospace and member of the Niagara Frontier Aviation and Space Hall of Fame, died Saturday in Erie County Medical Center. He was 92.
Born in Glasgow, Scotland, he immigrated with his family to Canada and then to the United States, becoming a citizen. In Buffalo, he graduated in 1937 from Technical High School as valedictorian, earning a diploma in machine design.
Mr. Watt joined Bell Aircraft in 1940 and worked there 39 years as a design engineer, specializing in airframes and controls. He worked on many of Bell’s famous aircraft, including the P-39, P-63, X-1, X-2, and the X-22A — the latter famous for its ability to take off vertically and/or on a short runway. Later, he worked on air-cushion vehicles including the SKMR-1 and the SK-5.
Mr. Watt was a member of the Bell Management Club and the Bell Quarter Century Club. He was inducted into the Niagara Frontier Aviation and Space Hall of Fame.
He was a member of the Church of the Nativity, United Church of Christ, in Kenmore.
His first wife, Doris Anna Watt, died in 1988.
Survivors include his second wife, Ruth Keller-Watt of Orchard Park; two stepdaughters, Judith Cradler and Laura MacFarland; and two sons, Brian D. and David S.
Services will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday in F.E. Brown Sons Funeral Home, 6675 E. Quaker St., Orchard Park.