John W. Watson

Date of Birth

September 24, 1946

Date of Death

April 21, 2018

We lost a kind and gentle person, John W. Watson, who died on April 21, 2018 in Santa Barbara, California at the age of 71.

Born September 24, 1946, John was the only child of Louise and Phares Watson. He grew up in Minden, Louisiana where his parents shared their home with his grandmother, Elsie Deloney. Their house was the hub for the large and boisterous Deloney family of 6 uncles, 1 aunt, their spouses and children, as well as for 4 aunts and their families on the Watson side.

John was a proud graduate of Minden High School (1964), Louisiana Tech University (1968) and Tulane University (MBA, 1974). From 1969-70 he served his country as a Lieutenant Junior Grade (LTJG) in the United States Navy, Division USS John S. McCain (DDG-36). During has professional career in the oil & gasoline industry he lived in Los Angeles, Houston, and San Antonio, where he retired in 2008 as Director of Corporate Development for Valero Energy.

In 2011, John moved to Santa Barbara to live near his godson, Joshua Camberlan, whom he loved unconditionally. As a self-described “Liberal, Democrat, Climate Change Believer,” it was there he found his tribe. He quickly made friends through the Newcomers Club and enjoyed showing off his new hometown. John loved to hike and travel the world, often to birdwatch (his list was impressive). He was a philanthropist and political activist. Most recently, as one of the founding members of Santa Barbara’s “Money Out Voters In” movement, he was heavily involved in promoting the “Overturn Citizens United Proposition 59” ballot measure passed by California voters. Passage of Prop 59 mandated California’s members of Congress amend the U.S. Constitution to remove Big Money from elections.

John is survived by many Deloney and Watson cousins who thank Hospice of Santa Barbara and Senior Planning Service for the exceptional care they provided. Per his wishes, no services are planned.


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