David Leroy Watson, a veteran, a husband, a father, and friend, died from complications of his exposure to Agent Orange on Tuesday, May 1, 2018, at his home in Yachats, Oregon.
David was born to Donald and Juanita Watson, on December 10, 1937, in Burbank, California. While he spent some of his early days in North Hollywood, California, his family packed up and moved to Lowell, Oregon, and then later Marcola, Oregon. He would forever identify himself as an Oregonian.
After graduating from Mohawk High School, he enlisted in the US Navy, where he went to have a long and distinguished career, which included radarman, special forces, and finally as a Navy recruiter. David served his country for nearly 23 years, including four tours in the Vietnam War.
In addition to numerous letters of appreciation and commendation throughout his career, David received the following awards and medals: Good Conduct Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Unit Commendation, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Meritorious Unit Citation (Gallantry Cross), Vietnam Service Medal with Fleet Marine Force Combat Operation Insignia, Vietnam Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, and the Naval Recruiting Command’s Gold Wreath Award.
While stationed at the Naval Academy in the late 1960s, David was instrumental in forming the Naval Academy Sport Parachute Club, which survives today as the USNA Parachute Team.
David raised his sons Mike, Tim, Kevin, and Steve, while living in Annapolis, Maryland; Baltimore, Maryland; Jacksonville, Florida; Charleston, South Carolina; Woodbridge, Virginia; and Stafford, Virginia.
After serving his country in the US Navy, David worked as an engineer for Vitro Corporation for 15 years, during which he helped launch the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile. He was also an associate member of the UDT-SEAL Association.
David married Lynn Hensley in 2008 and together they lived in Edneyville, North Carolina; and at the Oregon coast in the Yachats, Oregon.
David had a great love of the outdoors, including fishing and bowhunting throughout North America. He was an active member in the Professional Bowhunters Society and the Appalachian Bowhunters Association. David owned several classic cars, including a 1971 Chevy Nova and a 2003 Corvette Indy Pace Car, and he loved attending classic car shows and events with his wife Lynn as an active member of the Henderson County Corvette Club.
He will be remembered by his friends and family for his adventurous and tenacious spirit.