Raymond Gene Watson of Great Falls, Montana passed away in the early hours of May 7, 2021. He was born to Harry Richard Holland Watson and Nora Myrtle Baumer Watson on January 14, 1933, in Havre, Montana. He was educated in the Havre Public Schools, graduating from Havre High School in 1951.
In the summer of 1953, he worked in the Texas oil fields with his brother-in-law. He then moved to Seattle where he was a tool maker for Boeing Aircraft. In 1954, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, and became an electronics technician. He volunteered to become one of the early guided missilemen. During his enlistment, he served in the Korean War.
In 1957, Ray married Susan Elissa Carson of Paw Paw, Michigan. Sue was working for the CIA at the time, and they met in Washington, D.C. through a mutual friend, Bill Johnson. Sue left the CIA to marry Ray and after their wedding, they lived at the Chincoteague Naval Air Station in Virginia.
Ray was honorably discharged in 1959 and enrolled at Montana State College (now MSU) in Bozeman. In December of 1961, he received a bachelor’s degree in history, along with teaching credentials, and started teaching at Havre High School in 1962. In 1965 Ray returned to Montana State College and received his master’s degree in History and Philosophy. He went home to Havre High in 1966, where he continued to teach until his retirement in 1990.
Ray was elected to the Havre City Council in 1969. Over the next thirteen years, he served as Council President, Chairperson of Finance, and participated on several other boards and committees. In 1981, he was elected Mayor of Havre, and served a four-year term. He was proud of the infrastructure improvements made during his tenure.
In August of 2000, they moved to Great Falls, where they took up a busy life volunteering at the C.M. Russell Museum, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, the Great Falls Rescue Mission, and the First United Methodist Church. In 2002, Montana State University - Northern recognized Ray’s lifetime achievements by awarding him the Founders Award for Excellence.
To read the complete obituary and share condolences, visit the Schnider Funeral Home website.