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PEKIN ~ Richard E Watson, 86, of Pekin, passed away at 10:02 p.m., Friday, March 27, 2015 at Grand View Care Center in Peoria.

Richard was born December 9, 1928 in Spring Lake Township, Tazewell County to Louis O. and Jennie (Hundt) Watson.  He married Mahala Huber on March 11, 1955 in Pekin.  She preceded him in death on May 8, 1976.  He married Rosemary (Earhart) Eilks on January 28, 1978. 

Surviving are his wife Rosemary, of Pekin; three children, Scott (Marcy) Watson of Chesterfield, MO, Lauri (Doug) Sea of Omaha, NE and Wanda Watson of Arlington Heights, IL; two step children, Annette (Bob) Brown of Havana, IL and Kevin (Carrie) Eilks of Green Ridge, MO; six grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.  Also surviving are a sister in-law, Georgia Watson of Pekin, two sisters, Wanda Clough of San Clemente, CA and Rose Watson of CA, and one brother, Dale Watson of Pekin. 

He was preceded in death by his parents, a brother Don Watson and a sister, Wilma Schappaugh.

A 1946 graduate of Pekin Community High School, Richard worked for Will Harms Co., as well as Maurie’s in Pekin, before he began working at Pekin Insurance in June 1954 as a machine operator in the statistical department.  He was later named supervisor of the same department.   He was subsequently promoted to Manager of Data Processing, Vice President of Systems and Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer before his retirement from Pekin Insurance in 1989.  He was an avid golfer, and a longtime fan of St. Louis Cardinal Baseball.  He also loved wood working, lawn and landscape work and doing home projects. 

Richard was a member and president of the Central Illinois Insurance Accounting and Statistical Association.  He was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Pekin, and a member of the Pekin Country Club, where he formerly served on the Board of Governors.  He also served on the Data Processing Advisory Committee of Illinois Central College.

A private family service will be held at Preston-Hanley Funeral Homes & Crematory in Pekin, with the Rev. James McClarey and Rev. Judy Doyle officiating.  There will be no visitation.  Inurnment will be in Glendale Memorial Gardens in Pekin.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be made to First United Methodist Church, 1315 Court Street, Pekin, IL 61554 or to Alzheimer’s Association, Central Illinois Chapter, 612 West Glen Avenue, Peoria, IL 61614 or to Pets for Seniors, P.O. Box 64, Edwards, IL 61528-0064 ( or a charity of the donor’s choice. 

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