Dave Watson was a kind and generous man who gave much of himself for the betterment of others.
Family, friends and students gathered at Kent Covenant Church on Monday night to remember the gregarious Kent man who was a devoted husband, a caring father of four children, a beloved Green River Community College instructor and a warm host for international students learning English.
Watson also was an ordained minister and an adventurous man, fond of travel and learning, but, most of all, people.
Watson died July 4 when he broke through about 4 feet of snow in Mount Rainier’s Paradise area. He was swept 30 feet down the creek underneath the snow, according to Mount Rainier National Park spokeswoman Patti Wold.
Despite rescuers’ efforts, Watson later died at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. He was 51.
“He was a good man and dear friend,” said Mark Dawson, who went to college with Watson and maintained a close friendship for 30 years. “He was caring, cheerful, generous and kind. … He loved others, he loved Christ.”
Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Watson graduated from Wheaton College, where his father was a graduate of the class of 1936, and where his daughter, Leah, attends today.
He earned a master’s degree in religion at Westminster Theological Seminary.
Watson spent two years teaching English in China. He traveled the world and met his wife in South Korea. They were married in Seoul on Feb. 13, 1992, and again in Broomhall, Pa., the following Aug. 8 – two ceremonies, two families.
The Watsons raised four children.
The family moved to Kent in 2002. Watson was ordained with the Christian Reformed Church and served as pastor of Good News Fellowship in Kent from 2002-04. The Watson family has been a part of Kent Covenant Church since 2007, and Watson continued to preach regularly in churches throughout the Seattle area.
“His heart was his ministry,” said the Rev. Rod Vanderly, pastoral mentor and friend.
Watson taught IESL (intensive English as a second language) classes at Green River Community College for the past five years, but he had been teaching the language to non-native speakers for decades.
“Mr. Watson taught English to about 300 international students since 2007, and hosted 22 international students as a host family before that,” said Ross Jennings, GRCC’s associate vice president of international programs, in a statement. “In addition to his work with international students, Mr. Watson was a pastor and youth leader at Kent Covenant Church.
“Dave was very well regarded for his generous heart, optimistic spirit and dedication to family, church, friends, colleagues and students,” Jennings said. “He will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him.”
Survivors include his wife, Jungsoon “Jamie” Watson, and children — Leah, David, Anna and Stephen.
“He not only was my dad, he was my best friend,” Stephen said.
A memorial fund has been established to support the college education and other needs of the Watson children. Please make checks payable to the: David K. Watson Memorial Fund. Checks can be dropped off at the Kent Covenant Church office, 12010 SE 240th St.