Longtime legislator, 89, to be honored
Ed Watson, a former state representative and union activist who turns 90 this month, will be honored July 18 at an Area 5 Democrats barbecue.
The event is from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Jimmy Burke Activity Center, 500 W. 13th St., Deer Park.
Watson credits his success to the people who have helped him.
The only thing you can do by yourself is foul up," he said with a grin.
Watson, who has lived in the same Deer Park house with his wife since 1954, represented District 129 in the Texas House for eight terms between 1973 and 1989. Due to redistricting, Deer Park is now part of House District 128.
He lost the November 1988 election by seven votes to Mike Jackson, a Shoreacres Republican who now represents Senate District 11.
Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia, mistress of ceremonies for Watson's birthday party, said he is a living inspiration.
Most people in East Harris County know him as a result of his 16 years of service as a state representative," Garcia said. But many of us also know him through his tireless efforts working for and with union members and the companies who employed them."
Watson was born July 20, 1920, in northern Chambers County. His family had a small farm and lived in a two-bedroom house with no electricity or indoor bathroom.
A 1939 graduate of Anahuac High School, Watson joined the U.S. Navy in 1942 during World War II. He served in the newly organized Armed Guard that provided gun crews on ships carrying supplies to troops.
Among other World War II missions, Watson crossed the North Atlantic four times, a perilous duty among German submarines.
Discharged in 1946, Watson returned home, got married and went to work for Shell Oil in Deer Park. He and his wife, Susan, have two sons, Dan, now of Plano, and Don, of Friendswood; and daughters Debby Gore, Rye; and Faith Crawford of Henderson.
Watson was active in the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers union throughout his career, serving as Local 4-367 president.
It was his involvement in the union that got him into electoral politics, he said.
In 1972, when OCAW organizers learned that Rep. Johnny Nelms was giving up the District 129 seat to run for Congress, they prevailed upon Watson to enter the race.
He resisted at first, but went on to win.
Watson said he never forgot what his father taught him about politics early on.
My dad told me, Son, everything you do is controlled by a politician, elected or appointed.'"