The Watts family, George’s grandparents, came to Wyoming from Illinois by covered wagon in 1916. George was born in a one room log cabin located in Andy Guthrie Canyon west of White Tail Creek, Crook County, Wyoming in 1931. The family relocated to the Art Guthrie place in March of 1935, so he and his older sisters could attend the Russell School. Hauling the potato crop to the local market with his sister Mae meant that he began driving as an eight- or nine-year-old! He normally carried a sling shot with a pocket full of rocks with intent to harass the rabbits, birds, and squirrels. Much to the fear and dismay of his siblings, George had a gift for calling in coyotes with only his voice.
George was married to Nina Mae (McAmis) Watts on July 16, 1950 in Belle Fourche, South Dakota, by Reverend Harold Salem. A few years later they purchased George’s parents’ ranch where they raised their growing family of three boys and three girls. During thunderstorms he sat on the hilltop above their ranch house and acted as the local “fire marshal,” marking lightning strikes to protect the ranch and the neighboring land from wild fire. It’s a marvel George lived as long as he did!
The many interests of George included woodworking, fishing, hunting, logging, and music. He was a skilled rancher and mechanic and ran a sheep-shearing crew and did custom combining and haying, all to provide for his family. With a love of playing his accordion, he entertained for the nursing and assisted living centers in Sundance. George was delighted with every grandchild and great-grandchild that came along. Throughout the years, George served on the Crook County School Board, Crook County Senior Citizens Board, Lions Club, and as an advocate for the Greater Hulett Community Center.
George is survived by sisters, Lorene Mae Neiman (Hulett, Wyoming), Winifred Darlene Bush (Hulett) and Linda Carol Hyatt (Steve – San Antonio, Texas); children, Sandra Joanne Bedegi (Andrew – Gillette, Wyoming), Melvin Charles Watts (Kathy – Mountain Home, Texas), Wanda Dee Carroll (Kim – Devils Tower, Wyoming), James David Watts (Belle Fourche) and Rene Malven Watts (Bev – Sundance, Wyoming); son in-law Steve Necklason; 17 grandchildren and more than 30 great-grandchildren.
George was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Nina Mae; daughter, Mae Janine Necklason; parents, George M. Watts Sr. and Edith Lorene Watts; sister, Nellie Elizabeth Pummell and stillborn brother, baby Charles.
Visitation will be held from 5-7 pm at the Fidler-Isburg Funeral Chapel, 208 Main Street, Sundance on Tuesday, October 23, 2018 with a Vigil Service at 6:30 p.m. A celebration of life will be held on Wednesday, October 24, 2018 at the Greater Hulett Community Center in Hulett, Wyoming at 11 a.m. Lunch will be served by the Buttons and Bows Women’s Club of Hulett with burial to follow at the Alva Cemetery. Officiant will be Deacon Kim Carroll.
Memorials can be made in George’s name to benefit the Hulett Fire Department or Hulett Emergency Medical Services. Memorials and condolences can be sent to the Fidler-Roberts and Isburg Funeral Chapel, 208 Main Street, PO Box 1380, Sundance WY 82729.
Arrangements are under the care of Fidler-Roberts & Isburg Funeral Chapel of Sundance. Online condolences may be written at www.fidler-isburgfuneralchapels.com