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John "Jack" Terrance Watson


Mr. John (Jack) T. Watson, a resident of Waukee, Iowa, passed away surrounded by his loving family on December 2, 2022 at his home after an extended illness.


Beloved husband of Sylvia (MacKenzie) Watson.


Loving father of Sandra (Douglas) MacDonald, Susan (Emilio) Apey, and David (Erin) Watson. Cherished grandfather of John (Jack), Alexander (Alex), and Mackenzie MacDonald, Gabriela Apey, and Broderick (Brody) and Harper Watson.


Loving brother of Bill (Judy) Watson. He was preceded in death by his brother Wayne (and sister-in-law Charlotte) Watson.


Jack was born at the family farm home near Wallaceburg, Ontario, Canada, on February 17, 1937. He was the first of three sons of the late Orin and Mary (Gordier) Watson.


In 1967 Jack graduated from the University of Guelph, at Guelph, Ontario, Canada, with an MS in crop science and began working for Pioneer Hi-Bred as a corn breeder working to develop new hybrids at the company’s first station in Canada in Woodstock, Ontario. In 1972 he was transferred to Europe to start Pioneer’s first corn breeding station on the continent, in Selommes, France. In 1975 he and his family were relocated by Pioneer to Des Moines, Iowa. During the next 25 years he traveled extensively for Pioneer and worked in more than 50 countries around the globe. In 2000 he retired as a vice president of Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.


Much of his retirement was spent designing and tending to beautiful flower gardens and planting trees on his property in Waukee, Iowa. He also became an avid genealogist and traced his family’s lineage back to 1796 in County Down Ireland. He authored two books: From Kent County to Tashkent…and Beyond: A Memoir of a Farm Boy, and A Genealogical History: Thomas Watson and Descendants, the latter volume meticulously created with an eye toward helping future Watson generations interested in tracing their roots.


At Jack’s request, there will be no visitation or funeral service. Following his wishes, cremation has taken place. His cremains will be returned to the family farm in Canada.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made, if wished, to any of three organizations important to Jack: the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, the Iowa Genealogical Society and The Arboretum at the University of Guelph.


The family would like to express a special thank you to Dr. Megan Romine and the compassionate caregivers from Home Instead and Suncrest Hospice.

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