Landscapes 10

David Colquitt Watson

February 9, 1936 ~ April 10, 2020 (age 84)


David Colquitt Watson passed away peacefully in his sleep on April 10, 2020 at Regional Medical Center in San Jose, CA due to complications from Covid 19.

David was born Feb 9, 1936 in Linden, Texas. He was the second child of Colvin Colquitt Watson and Nelena Gertrude Keasler, but was mostly raised by his stepmother Annie Elois Arden Watson. “Hambone”, as he was called by family and friends while growing up, graduated from Kilgore High School in 1954.  In 1956 he joined the US Air Force where he worked on the development of drones. He married Flora Janet Thayn on Nov 10, 1959. They were sealed for time and all eternity in the Salt Lake Temple on May 11, 1962.

After leaving the Air Force in 1960 he attended the University of Texas for one year and then transferred to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. He graduated with a B.S in Electrical Engineering in 1964. He attended graduate school in a special program which allowed him to skip his master’s degree and go straight through to his doctorate. He earned his PhD with distinction in Electrical Engineering in 1968 (NASA Fellow, Phi Kappa Phi, Tau Beta Pi, Eta Kappa Nu).

David then moved to San Jose with his growing family where he worked for many years in the defense industry, at companies such as ESL Inc., Sunnyvale, CA (1968-1978), Probe Systems, Sunnyvale, CA (1978-1979), ARGO Systems Inc., Sunnyvale, CA (1979-1990) and GTE, Mountain View, CA (1990-1992). During this time, he also taught graduate classes at Santa Clara University, San Jose State, College of Notre Dame and Chapman University. He was a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and he contributed articles to IEEE Transactions (1965-1979). He ended his career working for Space Systems Loral, Palo Alto, CA, retiring in 2001. He is credited with many innovations in his field. He was the co-inventor of the cyclotron-wave rectifier and the inventor of the gradient descrambler.

He also served in the community, being elected multiple times to the Berryessa USD School Board and serving for many years as the ward clerk with Bishops Mead, Bullard, Theobald and Glover in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. His personal philosophy was: “I believe in hard work and strict honesty in giving full value for consideration received, to God and my fellow man.”

He was renowned by his family and friends as a great storyteller. He could regale you with stories of his youth and Air Force days for hours! He had a great sense of humor. He loved to laugh. He was reliable, trustworthy, hard-working and fun to be around. He was loved by all who had the opportunity to get to know him. He loved baseball and spent many hours watching baseball games, telling stories, making jokes and bonding with his children. He was also famous for his ability to do mathematical computation in his head. He had an amazing ability to multiply and divide large numbers in his head-getting the correct answer in seconds.

He is preceded in death by his father Colvin Colquitt Watson, his mother Nelena Gertrude Keasler, his stepmother Annie Elois Arden Watson and his sister Helen Julia Watson Overton. He is survived by his half-brothers Morgan (Anita) Watson, Ronnie (Judy) Watson, Roger (Susan) Watson and his half-sister Sherri (James) Johnston, his wife Janet, his daughters Janeen, Melanie, Lorrie Mazucci, Cheralyn and Amy (Will) Harris and his sons Nathan and Brian (Julie) Watson. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Celeste and Eva Mazucci, William, Allison and Aubrey Harris, Natalie Watson, Aidan Scharine and Sebastian Wokas.


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