Jack Watson Did More Than Volunteer; He Broke New Ground

Watson, 78, of Point Beach, who died Feb. 28, was the Point Boro Key Club advisor, and helped set up recycling in the area

Jack Watson never wanted anything to be merely ordinary - even if it was an ordinary old school club.

When he took over the Key Club at Point Boro High School some 40 years ago, he wanted it to do more than hold cake sales or roll cotton candy at the Seafood Fest.

Watson was known to be modest, so he would never put down anybody who did the car washes and the tricky-trays.

It's just that, well, Jack, always wanted more.

Watson, 78, who died Feb. 28 at his Point Beach home, helped turn the Point Boro Key Club - which was affiliated with the Kiwanis organization - into one of the most successful in the country.

This Key Club did more than raise money - and it raised a lot. The Key Club helped set up one of the state's first regularly operating recycling programs, offering volunteers every Saturday to sort glass and newspapers.

On those mornings, high-school-age volunteers would hop in a truck with the late Councilman Alan Block and drive around town, picking up the scattered stacks of newspapers that people voluntarily left out.

Watson served 20 years as advisor to the Key Club. He helped Jack Glass set up the Point Boro recycling center program before Gov. Thomas Kean made the recycling of newspapers and glass mandatory in the late 1980s.

Past Key Club members - including myself - have gone on to serve in many leadership positions, and perform volunteer service in government, education, banking, business and elected offices in the local communities, and across New Jersey and the United States.

Watson was recently honored with the establishment of a scholarship in his name called the Jack Watson-Key Club Public Service Endowment. He was also inducted into the Point Pleasant Foundation Hall of Fame in 2006.

He helped install cardiac exercise stations in Campbell Park, assisted with coordinating field-days in the elementary schools, and organized several events for worthy causes, such as fighting cancer and other diseases, according to the Pable Evertz Funeral Home in Point Boro.

Born in Elizabeth, to Lawrence and Grace Rowan Watson, he lived in Point Pleasant Beach most of his life.

He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Marjorie Markert Watson; two daughters, Jill Watson and Gail Fiorentino; a son-in-law, Benj Fiorentino; and four grandchildren, Christian, Kelsey, Robin and Riley, according to the funeral home.

After graduating Point Pleasant Beach High School, he served as a full-time police officer for Point Boro while earning his B.S. degree at Monmouth College. After graduation, he took a job as a claims adjuster with New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Co., according to the funeral home.

Watson later pursued a career in education and began teaching in the Business Department of Point Boro High School. After furthering his education, he became a guidance counselor in the high school and, ultimately, the vice principal of Nellie Bennett Elementary School until he retired in 1991.

A memorial service was held at the Point Pleasant Presbyterian Church, Bay and Forman Avenues, in Point Pleasant Beach on Saturday, March 5. Burial was at Brigadier General William C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Wrightstown, according to the funeral home.

Memorial donations may be made to the Jack Watson-Key Club Public Service Endowment and sent to the Point Pleasant Board of Education Scholarship Account, Panther Path, Point Pleasant, N.J. 08742.

Pable Evertz Funeral Home, Point Pleasant is in charge of arrangements.

Richard Kelly March 10, 2011 at 05:06 PM
I used to spend a good part of my summers out in a little cabin in Pennsylvania with my grandparents. Jack and his lovely wife also had a place nearby. My grandfather and Jack worked togther at both the Point Pleasant Police Department and at in the Point Pleasant School system (along with my father). So I knew Jack from the time I was a small child all the way thru my early adulthood. In hign school, I joined the Key Club and Mr. Watson was a strong influence, calling me out when I was doing things wrong and showing me the meaning of service to others. He never cut me any slack because our families were friends, but held me to a higher standard. Back then I thought it was harsh and unfair, but today I can honestly say, they were some of the best lessons I have ever learned! His commitment to helping others still shapes who I am today and I continue to strive to be a better person and give back to my community every chance I get. I just hope that when my day comes, it can be said that was half the man he a was. - Rich Kelly
Tom Davis March 11, 2011 at 01:06 AM
Very moving, Rich. Thanks for that.


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