Central Appalachian SME Section

Remembering Royce Watts

  • 1.  Remembering Royce Watts

    Posted 06-02-2020 05:01 PM

    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.


    Geaunita Caylor
    Program Coordinator

  • 2.  RE: Remembering Royce Watts

    Posted 06-03-2020 11:14 AM
    My friends know me by my middle name Joe and I am compelled to pay my respects to my good friend and mentor Royce Watts. I met Royce in the mid 80s at the West Virginia Coal Mining Institute. In fact for decades Royce was the face of the WVCMI and very influential in the SME. Although titled Secretary-Treasurer he ran the organization with help from the officers and board members but I assure you he was the guiding force behind everything the WVCMI did each and every year. I was honored to serve as President and worked closely with Royce to rewrite the bylaws and articles of incorporation to protect the members and officers from liability. Besides that attention to detail for the meetings and management of the organization, Royce was the mentor and role model for many engineers and industry executives on how to be a great leader and human being. I will always cherish my friendship with Royce and we are a much better Society and Industry from knowing Royce Watts. Rest In Peace and thanks for all you did for the Mining Industry.

    Joe Hatfield
    Joe Hatfield and Associates
    Festus MO 63028

  • 3.  RE: Remembering Royce Watts

    Posted 06-03-2020 01:08 PM

    HI Joe,

    Sorry for your loss... any everyone in Central App.




  • 4.  RE: Remembering Royce Watts

    Posted 06-04-2020 08:03 AM
    Royce was a mentor and role model for so many engineers.  I'm saddened to hear of his passing.
    Chad Mooney

    Chad Mooney
    Natural Resource Partners LP
    Barboursville WV United States