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Former state trooper passes at age 68

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NASHVILLE – A long-time area state trooper and high school basketball referee died Sunday at the age of 68.
John Edwin Watson, who served the area for over 35 years as an officer of the Arkansas State Police, leaves behind a large family, including four children and three grandchildren. Originally from Delight, Watson was known throughout southwest Arkansas as a firm but fair voice both wearing a badge and referee’s stripes.
As a state trooper, Watson rose to the rank of post sergeant for Troop G. On the court, he was able to offer counsel on sportsmanship and gentle encouragement as well as rulings on procedure – skills that allowed him to officiate even at the highest levels of high school basketball in the state, calling the All-Stars game.
His own accomplishments on the boards were also notable, winning state championships as a Delight Bulldog in both his freshman and junior years.
Services will be held at Mineral Springs Church of Christ Wednesday at 1 p.m. He will be laid to rest in Liberty Cemetery in Newhope.