Murray Watson, Jr.

May 14, 1932 - July 24, 2018

Murray Watson, Jr., age 86, a native of Mart, Texas, passed away, Tuesday, July 24, 2018, surrounded by family and friends. Murray died from a particularly aggressive lung cancer after being diagnosed in early June. A graveside service will be held at 9:00 a.m., Saturday, July 28, at Mart Cemetery, followed by a public memorial service beginning at 11:00 a.m., at Austin Avenue Methodist Church, 1300 Austin Ave., with the Rev. Tom Pearson officiating. Visitation will be 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., Friday, July 27, at Wilkirson-Hatch-Bailey Funeral Home, 6101 Bosque Blvd.

Murray was born in Mart, May 14, 1932, to Murray Watson, Sr., and Ethel Bryson Watson, both deceased. In a long, distinguished and colorful career, Murray was many real things to many people, but of all his accomplishments, the thing he was most proud of was his role as husband, father, and grandfather to his devoted family. He allowed nothing to come between him and them.

Murray was a lawyer, a rancher, a politician, a philanthropist, and had a lifelong passion for helping others. He graduated from Mart High School in 1949, from Baylor University in 1952, and received his law degree from Baylor in 1954. He was elected to the Texas State House of Representatives at age 24, and served there until 1963, when he was elected to the Texas Senate and served there until 1973. Murray loved politics and understood how the system worked and how to get things done. He was a good friend and confidant of former Lt. Governor Bob Bullock.

As senator, Murray carried many important pieces of legislation, but he was especially proud of helping create what is now TSTC. After retiring from the bruising field of elective politics, he became general counsel for the Texas State College system for 26 years.

Pursuing another of his passions, education, Murray was one of the key organizers and creators of the Brazos Higher Education Authority in 1975, and the Brazos Higher Education Service Authority, nonprofit organizations designed to help students secure loans. He was the CEO of both organizations which have aided thousands of students to finance their college educations. Both entities remain viable and active.

Murray also owned and operated the family ranch and cattle operation in Mart, as well as the historic Watson Feed store in downtown Mart. He worked in the feed store every Saturday, saying it kept him in touch with the real world.

Murray is also a Past Master and more than 65-year member of the Baylor Masonic Lodge, a 33rd degree honorary member of the Waco Scottish Rite Consistory, a 50-plus year member of Karem Shrine, and a Past Grand Patron of the Order of the Eastern Star. He is a Paul Harris Fellow in the Rotary Club of Waco and an active member of Austin Avenue Methodist Church.

He is survived by his wife of almost 59 years, Greta Warren Watson; son, Marcus Warren Watson; daughter, Milicent "Missy" Larson and husband, Randall; granddaughter, Annika Yvonne Larson; grandson, Niklas Watson Larson; sister, Carol Ann Barclay; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Pallbearers are Andy Ellis, John Hatchel, Ricky Turman, Ben Litle, Sam Redden, Larry Smith, and Brian Brewer. Honorary Pallbearers are Bob Templeton, Judge Ralph Strother, Lyndon Olson, Dean Brad Toben, Jerry Powell, Dr. Elton Stuckley, Mike Reeser, Johnette McKown, Richard Brewer, Les Bryan, Ronnie Beck, Kenneth Edinburgh, Norberto Gonzales, Martin Barco, Pete Rowe, Charlie Ramsey, John Chiles, Rondy Gray, Jane Allen, Lewis Breeland, Bob Chambers, Tom Chase, Claude Ervin, Harry Harelik, Norman L. Hay, Jr., Brent Helm, Peter Kultgen, Paul McClinton, Dr. Stan Madden, Dr. Terry Maness, Clement Milam, Dr. Robert Packard, Joyce Packard, John Perry, Sherrill Pogue, Charles Reed, Dr. Don Schmeltekopf, Dr. Joseph F. Velez and Tony Wayland.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to any of the following: Brazos Education Foundation, 2600 Washington Ave., Waco TX 76710; Austin Avenue Methodist Church, 1300 Austin Ave., 76701; Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, 2222 Welborn, Dallas TX 75210; or M.D. Anderson Foundation, P.O. Box 2558, Houston TX 77252; or the charity of your choice.

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