Carl Dean Watson entered this world on May 18, 1943, to Herbert H. and Vesta Faye (Hamilton) Watson. He departed this life on September 30, 2023, while surrounded by his loving wife and children at home on the Watson family farm where he was born.
He attended Houston Schools and graduated with the Class of 1961. In high school, Carl played basketball and was an outstanding hurdler. He set and held the Houston High School record for many years in both the high and low hurdles. He was an All Conference and All State Hurdler.
Shortly after high school, Carl entered the United States Army and was stationed at Fort Belvoir, Va., where he spent his entire military career in the construction engineering division and attained the rank of Specialist 5. While he was awaiting orders to ship overseas to fight in the Vietnam War, he received word that he was selected to serve on a special squad for the funeral detail for President John F. Kennedy in Washington, DC. He was always so proud that he was a small part of such a historic occasion.
On July 1, 1966, Carl joined the Missouri State Highway Patrol and his first assignments as a Trooper were West Plains and Mountain Grove. In 1979, Carl transferred to the Troop G Headquarters in Willow Springs and was assigned to the Criminal Investigation Division known as the DDCC. He became Supervisor and Lead Investigator and remained in that unit until he retired from the Patrol in 1999. Carl was an original member of the MSHP MASTERS program which provides financial support for families of fallen officers. He was also a member of the committee that led to the formation of the South Central Drug Task Force.
During the course of his career, he was involved in thousands of high-profile criminal cases such as homicides, domestic terrorism investigations, methamphetamine lab busts, marijuana eradication and automobile theft rings in southern Missouri and throughout the state. Carl was known to be meticulous in his collection of evidence and written reports. Carl testified in hundreds of court cases throughout his career and never lost a conviction or had a case overturned due to mishandled evidence or improper investigation techniques. He had several opportunities for promotion within the Patrol or career advancement with organizations such as the FBI and Secret Service but turned them all down due to his desire to remain on the family farm with his beloved family.
After retirement from the MSHP, Carl was honored to be elected twice to serve as the Sheriff of Texas County. It was during Carl’s tenure as Sheriff that the Justice Center of Texas County became a reality. Carl was a dedicated and well-respected law enforcement officer that made many lifelong friends throughout his career. He was one of the few law enforcement officers that served his County in the capacity as Sheriff, his State as a Highway Patrolman and his Country as a Soldier in the United States Army.
Carl was an avid outdoorsman and really enjoyed deer hunting, fishing, showing horses and raising cattle on his family farm. He also enjoyed floating the area rivers and especially enjoyed his fly-in fishing trips to Canada every year with “the boys.” He also was a lifelong St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Chiefs fan and loved attending games in person and watching games at home with his family.
Carl became a Christian at the age of nine, was baptized in Hog Creek by Rev. Norman Orr and remained a man of faith for the rest of his life. He was married to his best friend, Jan, on February 4, 1987. Carl and Jan shared a love of traveling from coast to coast and visited many National Parks together. Their home often served as a gathering place for family and friends during every major holiday. Carl had no greater joy than spending time with his children and grandchildren while telling stories and enjoying a good home-cooked meal prepared by Jan.
Carl was preceded in death by his parents and an infant brother. He is survived by his wife, Jan, of the home, his brothers Jack Watson, of West Plains, and Ed Watson, of Elk Creek, and his cousin/closest friend, Curtis Giddens. Their five children, Jamie Vines and husband, Steve, of Mountain View, Justin Watson, of Springfield, Tabbi McCallister and husband, Terry, of Protem, Jarid Scheets and wife, Jennifer, of Houston, and Heather Holden and special friend Travis Stewart, of Houston.
Carl and Jan were blessed with fourteen grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Nicholas Portincaso, Emily Vines, Janissa Portincaso, Brittany McCallister, Hanna Vines, Tyee McCallister, Riley Scheets, Kaelan Ireland, Kai Ireland, Katy Scheets, Chance Watson, Hally Scheets, Charlie Jo Scheets, Addison Portincaso, Ellie Scheets and Aiden Portincaso.
Visitation was held on Monday, October 2, 2023, from 5-8 p.m., at the First Baptist Church in Houston. Funeral Services for Carl were held at the First Baptist Church on Tuesday, October 3, 2023, at 2 p.m., under the direction of Bradford Funeral Home. The service was officiated by Dr. Howell Burkhead at Carl’s personal request. Internment was at the New Hope Cemetery in Solo, Mo., following the service. Online condolences may be left at www.bradfordfuneralhome.net.
In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests that memorial donations be made to TCMH Hospice of Care, the MSHP MASTERS Program, and the New Hope Baptist Church Cemetery in Solo, Mo.