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Thomas Clarence Watson, 76, born August 10, 1946 in Charleston, Illinois passed peacefully surrounded by his family on, Wednesday, March 15, 2023 at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana ,Illinois. Tom was one of six children born to Thomas Woodrow and Elizabeth June (Stillions) Watson.
Funeral services will be held at 10:00 AM, Monday, March 20, 2023 at Adams Funeral Chapel in Charleston. Visitation will be held Sunday evening at the funeral chapel from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Burial will be in the Roselawn Cemetery.
Tom was a giving and kindhearted man to many. His thirst for knowledge of family roots and history of his town was unsatisfied. He worked countless hours on projects collecting data for the purpose of compiling all the information in one place for the history of the Charleston Fire Department and Charleston Speedway, as well as many others. Tom was responsible for helping start the Charleston Ambulance Service and served many years as a fireman and paramedic for Charleston. He spent many sleepless nights to ensuring the health and safety of his community.
Tom eventually over the years rose through the ranks to Fire Chief of Charleston. A position he held with humble pride. He enjoyed the years in this position along with being the director of the Coles County Emergency Services and Disaster Agency. Oh how he loved storms and seeing how they generated along with movement of cells to diminishment. His voice was the one that came over the television to let everyone know what was happening with the weather. He continued to give those updates on Facebook well after his retirement. He was a member of the International Fire Chiefs Association, a field instructor for the U of I Fire Institute, National Fire Protection Association, Region 9 ESDA Council, Coles County Historical Society, Eagles Club , and the Coles County Stock Car Racing Association. He was also an arson investigator.
Stars and constellations were also another interest, along with lights in the sky that moved (wink, wink) if you will. He loved watching American Pickers, Oak Island, Antiques Road Show, NASCAR, Chicago Fire, History Channel, and various other shows. He collected knives, stamps, and coins. His most loved and pride possessions of his various collections were his two girls, Kimberli and Krista. Even though he was a man of very few words, his girls were the one thing, when asked about, his eyes lit up with a light of love and complete pride that could not be dimmed by any dark cloud of rain. Another was his many Grand and Great Grand Children. Papa was his name to all. Tom was nicknamed by his family the baby whisperer. When there was a fussy baby in the room, Tom was always the one that could calm the child to sleep. Then it took a lot of convincing to be able to retrieve the child back from him.
Tom was married to Elizabeth Carol Donahoo Watson Dorsey on August 9,1969 and later divorced. However, they remained exceptionally good friends and continued to spend holidays and birthdays together with their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents, brother, William Watson, and several aunts, uncles, and cousins. Tom is survived by daughters, Kimberli (Joshua) Pforr of Matton, Illinois, Krista (Randy) Snider of Charleston, Illinois, and his “adopted daughter” Toni (Jeremy) Dye of Hume, Illinois. Grandchildren: Tabytha (Cody) Toothman of Charleston, Illinois, Tiffinie Watson of Mattoon, Illinois, Brittni (TJ) Blake of Oakland, Illinois, Zachary (DaNiel) Hoel of Chatham, Michigan, Caleb (Mackenzie) Pforr of Altamont, Illinois, Tannar Pforr (Girlfriend, Destiny Mills) of Mattoon, Illinois, Elizabeth Snider of Charleston, Illinois, RJ Snider of Charleston, Illinois, and Toby Snider of Charleston, Illinois. Great Grandchildren: Nouh Watson, Trinity Toothman, Elliot Hoel, Beau Blake, Braxton Pforr, Landry Blake, and Jasper Hoel. Brother: Dave Watson (Girlfriend, Kathy Moudy) of Toledo, Illinois. Sisters: Connie (Dave) Caywood of Charleston, Illinois and Sue Ely of Charleston, Illinois. Sister-in-Law: Martha Watson of Tuscola, Illinois. As well as MANY cousins, nieces, nephews, great nieces, and nephews
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the local EMS, Fire and Emergency Services.