William James "Bill" Watson

September 9, 2018

William James “Bill” Watson, 44, passed away on September 9, 2018 nearly three years after his initial cancer diagnosis.  Born August 13, 1974, Bill is survived by his wife of 17 years, Amy Hawfield Watson; their children Benjamin James Watson and Elizabeth Githens Watson; his parents, James S. and Lou Massey Watson; sister, Elizabeth Watson Evans (Brad); parents-in-law Ben and Linda Hawfield, sister and brother-in-law Brian and Lindsay Jones; nieces and nephews William Meade Evans, Clara Elizabeth Evans, Ella Kee Jones and William Hawfield Jones.

Bill was a native Charlottean, graduating from Myers Park High School in 1992.  As a teenager, his interests included music, tinkering with his right-drive US Mail jeep, backpacking with Boy Scout Troop 99, and dating the girl who eventually became his wife. Bill’s love of music took shape beginning at Sedgefield Middle School, where he joined the school band, and formed The FREDs, a band with friends, playing guitar.  During high school, Bill was captain of the Myers Park Marching Mustangs, and guitarist in the rock band, Roy G Biv.  His commitment to the Marching Mustangs led to his Eagle Scout project, building shelves in his high school band room. Scouting was important to Bill and he served as Assistant Scoutmaster of Troop 100 at Edenton Street United Methodist Church in Raleigh.

Bill graduated from Georgia Tech in 1997 with a degree in mechanical engineering.  His college years gave him lifelong friends, outstanding parallel parking skills and the willingness to apply his engineering skills to home improvement projects.  He was an avid college baseball fan, and was the organist in the Tech press box during home games.  Bill thoroughly enjoyed catching up with the many college friends who responded to his “Stage IV urging” to attend the Homecoming tailgate last fall.

After working as a design engineer for Caterpillar, Bill earned an MBA from the Babcock Graduate School of Management (now Wake Forest University School of Business) in 2004, receiving the Babcock award at graduation.  At Wake, he developed entrepreneurial interests and subsequently founded Anvil Prototype, a 3D printing business, which was later acquired by Duncan Parnell.  He continued his fondness for Wake, periodically returning as a guest speaker. Subsequently, he served as Director of Innovation Management at Duke Energy, where he brought new ideas to fruition.

Bill had a gift for seeing the potential in people, ideas and actions.  Bill and Amy renovated three homes together.  As Bill liked to tell it, he was good at starting projects and Amy was good at finishing them.  He constructed a ladder over the back fence with his daughter.  It delighted Bill to glimpse children scampering over the fence.  Bill tied his own fishing flies. He taught his children to fish and score baseball games. He announced little league games and kept the scorebook for his son’s games. He was a stalwart member of Dilworth United Methodist Church, serving on the Endowment Committee and as Stewardship chair.  Bill sang in the choir and experienced his faith most deeply through the hymns.   Bill was a loving husband, an enthusiastic father, and a committed leader. 

Bill led other people to join him in playful activities.  Besides the annual Grammy party, Bill’s favorite fun occurred outdoors with friends. He maintained a footwear collection ready for any opportunity: cycling cleats, hiking boots, water skis, cross country skis, ice skates, snow shoes, and dance shoes.  Whether singing in the Dilworth UMC church choir, or playing one of his instruments, it delighted him to make music and to convince others to join in. He loved the “pre-game” of any activity – especially the warm-up for baseball games. Bill introduced his children to his many hobbies and encouraged them to discover their own interests.

The family is sincerely grateful to the nurses and doctors at Levine Cancer Institute and MD Anderson Cancer Center, especially Dr. Michael Livingston and and Dr. Apostolia Tsimberidou.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday September 13, 2018 at Dilworth United Methodist Church, 605 East Blvd, Charlotte NC 28203.  The family will receive friends following the memorial service at the church.  In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Bill Watson Music Fund, c/o CMS Foundation, 4421 Stuart Andrew Boulevard, Suite 100, Charlotte, NC 28217 to benefit the band and chorus at Sedgefield Middle School

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, NC 28204; (704) 641-7606. Online condolences can be shared at www.kennethpoeservices.com.


Share your memories & condolences


  • Kess Connelly Clark

    Amy I am heartbroken to learn of Bill's passing. I have so many fond memories of the two of you together and his kind and gentle manner. Please, please know my thoughts and prayers are with you and the twins and if there is ANYTHING I can do for you please let me know. My deepest sympathy.

  • Sharon and Edmond Harvey

    Amy, you and your family have my deepest condolences. In the coming days, We pray memories of Bill and the beautiful impact he had on his family, friends and community will comfort you. Bill's grace, laughter and legacy will live on for multiple lifetimes and through many generations. - Sharon and Edmond Harvey

  • Nicolai & Ezmeralda Sager

    Our deepest condolences to the entire family. May you find peace in the coming days and in time nothing but smiles and laughter from the many warm memories Bill left us all with. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

  • Belle B. Allen

    Lou, Jim, Amy and children, Bill's was a life well-lived. Though short in years, his love and influence will continue to bless others for generations. My prayer is that the love, peace and comfort that only our Heavenly Father can give will surround each of you. May you be blessed by the assurance of eternal life for those who claim His promises.
    Love in Christ, Belle

  • Belle B. Allen

    Lou, Jim, Amy and family, Bill's was a life well-lived. Though short in years, his influence will live on and others will be blessed. My prayer is that the strength, peace and comfort that our Heavenly Father gives will surround each of you. May the assurance of eternal life for those who trust in His promise lift your hearts. Love in Christ, Belle Allen

  • The Moeller Family

    Our deepest condolences. His light will shine on through the Bill Watson Music Fund and through all the fond memories he left behind. Peace and Strength - The Moeller Family

  • caroline and harry sampson

    Bill was without a doubt one of the finest. Seeing him from time to time over the years was always a pleasure. I loved his laugh like his mothers. His courage, grace over the past three years amazed me . God bless cousin Jimmy and Lou , Amy and children, we love you all. Caroline and Harry

  • Emily Toler Smith

    Amy - what a beautiful tribute to Bill. I love how every time I saw him, he seemed so genuinely enthused to catch up. Much love and prayers to you and your family from the Smiths and the Tolers.

  • Pat and Jim Tisdale

    Lou and Jim
    We pray the comfort and strength of our Lord surrounds and sustains you now and always. We are sure Johnathan greeted his old friend in heaven. A comment made to us when Johnathan died was that eternity is a long time. We hold on to that as we anticipate seeing him again. We hope that promise will be of comfort to you and the family also.
    Pat and Jim Tisdale

  • John and Bobbi Sundeen

    Amy, Ben and Elizabeth, condolences. Bill was a special man and one of our favorite people. His DUMC choir family loved him and his enthusiasm for creating music. Much love and prayers toand for the Watson family. .

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