Darrell Watts, 71, passed away on Sunday, November 2nd.
Darrell was born on April 18, 1943, to Pierce and Edyth Watts on their farm in Wyandotte, OK. During his time on the farm Darrell developed his love for horses, having several while growing up, including his favorite, a Palomino horse named Bonnie. His early years in school were spent in a one room school house, and then he moved on to the Wyandotte school system. Darrell attended Wyandotte Oklahoma High School where he met his wife Jane. During his years at WHS, Darrell was on the football team, the basketball team, ran track, and spent several years as the Class President.
Darrell started his post high school education at Northeastern Oklahoma Junior College, and helped show his school spirit by creating their original Norseman Mascot. He served as Student Council President. After two years at NEO, Darrell went on to graduate with an A.B. in Economics from Harvard University in 1965. Darrell continued his love for track while at Harvard and ran for the Harvard Track Team, primarily in a record setting 4×100 relay. Darrell was very proud that record stood for many years.
After graduation, Jane and Darrell married in June of 1965, and then moved to California where he earned his M.B.A. from The University of Southern California. During their time in California, their son Grant Alan was born. (October 11, 1967) Not too long after that, they made their way back to the Midwest. It was during the time that they lived in several Midwest cities that their daughter Sheri Jane was born in Salina, KS. (June 24, 1970). The family eventually settled in Leawood, KS in the early 70’s where Darrell continued to pursue his career in the automotive industry, both retail and corporate. Darrell’s favorite times during his child-rearing years were when he could create or complete a project. Anything from Halloween costumes, to science projects, working with Grant’s Boy Scout troop, and more. When there was some downtime, Darrell loved the annual family ski trips to Colorado, and he loved to watch sports with the family. Football was his favorite, including the Oklahoma Sooners, but tennis came in a close second. Years later Sheri would turn him into a KU fan as well.
Darrell and Jane moved to Michigan in 1987 to allow him to continue his career with the Chrysler Corporation until his retirement in 2001. It was while in Michigan that Darrell renewed his love for flying radio control airplanes. He would build the planes, schedule events, help maintain the flying field and more. Some of his proudest accomplishments were being published in R/C Modeler Magazine, which had been his favorite magazine for many years, and the creation of Midwest Regional Float Fly event in Michigan that is about to celebrate its 25th anniversary. He even found a way to combine work and pleasure by helping create a radio control Jeep exhibit for national and international Camp Jeep events, and he also flew “flying cars” at automotive shows around the country. During their time in Michigan, Darrell also was able to have a group of friends that also loved to play his beloved game of Pinochle. A Watts family tradition. Of course we think that he loved it so much because he rarely lost. Also while in Michigan, 1997, and 1999, respectively, Darrell’s life was blessed with his two beautiful granddaughters, Rachel Meredith, and Sophia Jane. He found so much joy in seeing this next generation come to be, and loved to spend time with them, and of course build things for them and come up with fun adventures for them. Darrell loved both the grand idea of vacations to Disney with them, and the simple times of carrying them on his shoulders or playing games with them. He was so proud of them and the beautiful young women that they have become.
Darrell and Jane moved back to the Kansas City area in 2004, where he was an active member of Colonial Presbyterian Church, once again, being that project and go-to guy on the practical side, and enjoying renewing old friendships and making new ones by being close to his church family. He also continued his love for radio control airplanes and was active in several clubs. He always found the perfect balance between time with friends, time with his family, and time for his hobby. There was always enough love, attention, and passion for what he was doing to go around. Most notably for his forever love, Jane.
Darrell is survived by his wife, Jane Grant Watts; his brother Lowell Watts and his wife Gail (Houston, TX), and their children, David and Julie; his son Grant and his wife Sandra and their daughters Rachel and Sophia (Lexington, MA); and his daughter Sheri Watts Hart (Olathe, KS); as well as many cousins and extended family.
Darrell was the genuine article; never a false note. He was a happy, joyful man that loved people and the idea that any little thing that he might do could make an impact on them. He was quick with a smile and a conversation whether it was with his wife Jane, or a stranger on the street. Then his next thought would be “what can I do for you?”, “how can I help”. The fierceness of the grief that his friends and family feel now are directly proportionate to the passion, care, and love that Darrell brought to the world. To know him was to have your faith in humanity restored. Services will be held on Monday, November 10th at 4pm, at Colonial Presbyterian Church, 9500 Wornall Road, Kansas City, MO, with a reception to follow. The family requests no flowers, but donations can be made to Wyandotte High School Scholarship Fund. c/o Ron Hollingsworth, 65115 E 250 Road, Grove, OK 74344