Volume 12, Issue 36 ~ September 2 - 8, 2004
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Joseph H. Watters Sr.
by M.L. Faunce

My next door neighbor, Joe, promised to teach me how to be a good salesman. I had once expressed an interest in that skill knowing of his, believing it might come in handy.

All his life, Joe sold things, mostly residential air-conditioning and heating systems. If you knew Joe, you would know why he was a success at what he did. He made hard work and cold calls look easy; people trusted him and had reason to.

Sunday, August 22, Joe answered a different call, and the gentle, soft-spoken man with encyclopedic knowledge went to meet his maker. He didn’t have to talk his way in, but he could have if he needed to. Cancer stole him away from his loving family and many friends much too soon.

He was in many ways your average Joe: a delight to be with at Pirates Cove for dinner, at backyard crab feasts or all decked out in his tuxedo on a cruise with his wife Mary. He made the best martini on the block. And his popularity didn’t end with adults. To a generation of neighborhood kids, Mr. Joe was a distinctive refrain. He had a sense of humor, too. He named his white bison frieze Spotty and his boat Zip pe de do da.

Joe was the first person I met when I moved to Churchton in 1991. We visited over the things that all neighbors do, yard and home, the Bay and boating, family, always family, particularly his pride and joy, young granddaughters Sara and Alicia.

I don’t think we missed watching a Preakness or at least one of the Triple Crown races together each spring — first at large neighborhood lawn parties, then at smaller gatherings — in the 13 years we lived next door to each other. This spring, it was just Joe, Mary and I rooting for Smarty Jones.

In this most political of times, I tacked a Kerry for President bumper sticker on Joe’s hospital bed at home. He gave it the thumbs up. After Joe passed, his daughter Jennifer remarked that her dad was a “Big L liberal. He’d give you the shirt off his back,” she said.

That was Joe. Candidates running for office could learn a lot from a life like Joe’s. He had a passion for people. He was warm, open, honest and fair. He never gave up on anyone. And he never sold anybody a bill of goods.

© COPYRIGHT 2004 by New Bay Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.