ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. - Dr. John G. Watson, 67, dean of the School of Business, father of director of athletics Steve Watson and a member of the St. Bonaventure family for more than 35 years, passed away Sunday at about 10:15 p.m. in a York, Pa., hospital. He was visiting friends in York and suffered a stroke.
A Funeral Mass for Dr. John G. Watson will be held Wednesday, April 20, at 5 p.m. at the St. Bonaventure Parish in Allegany. A reception will follow. There will be no visitation.
The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, memorial gifts be made to the St. Bonaventure University School of Business Building Project or to York (Pa.) Catholic High School.
A prayer service in the University Chapel is scheduled for Monday at 5:45 p.m. and the university flag is flying at half-staff in his memory.
"The campus is shocked and deeply saddened by this news," said Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F., S.T.D. "John has served this University and our students for 35 years with the highest levels of integrity and distinction — as Vice President for Academic Affairs, as Dean of the School of Business, and as a beloved faculty member. I'm sure the full magnitude of his contributions are impossible to measure. Our prayers are with his family, who are all themselves dear members of our greater University family."
Watson was perhaps most well-known to the extended Bonaventure family as the longtime color analyst for men's basketball games. He worked alongside WPIG play-by-play man Gary Nease for the last 10 years.
"The St. Bonaventure athletic department has lost a valued member of our family," said Steve Campbell, associate athletic director for internal operations. "John was more than the father of our athletic director Steve, more than a highly competent radio analyst on our men's basketball broadcasts, and more than a friend to our departmental initiatives.
"He was a part of the fabric and foundation that makes St. Bonaventure such an extraordinary institution. We will miss him dearly."
Watson's wife, Suzanne, just retired after nine years as a lecturer in the computer science department. Their son Steve is director of athletics, and their son John is a professor of marketing. Dr. Watson was scheduled to retire in May.
Watson was also survived by daughter Jane, who lives in St. Louis. Another daughter, Christine, passed away in 2006.
A professor of management sciences, Watson had been dean of the School of Business for the last four years. It was Watson's second stint as dean; he served in that role from 1976 to 1984, just a year after beginning his career at St. Bonaventure.
He also served the university as vice president for academic affairs from 1981 to 1994. He specialized in business policy and union-management relations as a professor.
Dr. Michael Fischer, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, remembers Watson fondly.
"John has been my mentor and a dear friend for 25 years. While these are relationships that I hold dearly, I know there are countless others among our faculty and staff — and certainly throughout our student body and alumni family — who would claim the same relationship with him. His example is one that has enriched the lives and launched the careers of thousands.
"While he was set to retire in just a few short weeks, he had pledged to remain involved with us as we realized his dream of a new building for our School of Business. Certainly, our plans in this regard could not be positioned for success without his leadership."