With deep sadness, the Watts Museum shares with you the news of Royce J. Watts's passing. With his son and daughter-in-law by his side, Royce passed away in Dallas, Texas, on the afternoon of Friday, May 29, 2020.
The first child of a coal miner, Royce Jackson Watts was born in a company house in the mining community of Cassity in Randolph County, West Virginia, in 1929. Royce spent the majority of his childhood on a family farm in Tyler County, West Virginia.
After graduating from high school in 1946, Royce enlisted in the U.S. Army. He served in both World War II and the Korean War and received the Silver Star for gallantry in combat in 1950. He served in the Army Reserve for many years, retiring as a full colonel in 1989.Royce earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees from West Virginia University and joined the faculty of WVU as an instructor of accounting and economics in 1955. He worked at WVU for six decades, retiring as associate dean of the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources in 2017.
In the mid-1980s, Royce Watts spearheaded the establishment of a museum, now known as the Watts Museum, dedicated to the history of West Virginia's mineral resources and related industries. Along with his wife Caroline, he made major contributions towards the museum's growth and development and worked to ensure its longevity through the establishment of an endowment.
It is difficult to convey how much Royce Watts meant to the Watts Museum. His impact will always be felt and appreciated, and he will always be fondly remembered and honored.
Our curator, Danielle Petrak, would like to personally express what an important role Mr. Watts has played in her life: "Meeting and knowing Mr. Watts is truly one the greatest blessings of my life. I am honored to have worked for him and become his friend, and I am so thankful for his mentorship and guidance. The Mountain State is so lucky to have had you here for so many years, Mr. Watts - West Virginia and I will miss you so much."
Royce was preceded in death by his wife of 68 years, Caroline Baker Watts. Visitation and memorial services are pending, and an announcement regarding arrangements will be made at a later date.
Sorry for your loss... any everyone in Central App.