One of the first off the starting blocks, Kirk Matthew Watson dove into the swimming pool with bullet-like speed, giving it his all until the end of the race. Listed in the Anderson Herald Madison County Top 50 Athletes and an Indiana state-champion swimmer in the 50-yard freestyle twice over, Kirk’s battle with cancer was anything but a sprint. He tenaciously fought and kicked hard to the end, giving it his all. Kirk found wholeness and healing on June 11, 2020 when he went to be with his Savior Jesus Christ.
Kirk’s life began on April 11, 1975 in Anderson, IN. Born with an independent spirit, he was often found at swimming meets, hanging out with other swimmers and families (some he had just met) watching their portable TVs and enjoying their snacks. He was a peacemaker and an innovative person who discovered a love for animals in elementary school and learned how to navigate life sharing one little bathroom with three older sisters.
After graduating from Anderson High School in 1993, Kirk swam at the University of South Carolina and then attended classes at Midlands Technical College. It was there that his love for Labradors began with his black lab, Lucy. His interest in construction technology brought him back to Indiana when he transferred to Purdue University where he found life-long friends at Rochdale Cooperative House and graduated with a degree in Building Construction Management Technology in 1999. He moved to Fort Wayne and was employed at Indiana Construction while living in his Grandpa Watson’s cottage on Lake Tippecanoe. His passion for boating and fishing grew during those years on big Tippy. He also began honing his skills in home improvement while helping maintain and improve the cottage.
In 2002, Kirk felt a calling to go south and lived in the Florida Keys while working for Harry Pepper and Associates remodeling the naval air station at Key West. He eventually became a senior project manager at Harry Pepper, working on state and federal projects that were primarily a part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). He moved all over Florida, living and working with friends who became a second family to him. He spent his free time open-water fishing and boating with his yellow lab, Maggie May, and anyone who wanted to join him. He also became a general contractor and spent the latter years of his life dreaming, planning, and creating a beautiful home in Punta Gorda. While in this area, he met the love of his life, Alexandria White, who was by his side until the end.
Kirk was a son to Ron and Carol Watson, and a brother to Kelly (Tim) Young, Alisa (David) Perrel, and Dana (Brad) Resler. He was the fun, parrot-head tattooed uncle to nephews and nieces: William Watson (Hannah) Young, Wesley Dean Young, Riley Corrin Perrel, Conner Timothy Young, Leah Grace Resler, Gabriel Watson Perrel, Benjamin Dean Resler, Carolyn Anne Young, Dawson Dean Perrel, and Andrew John Resler. He was a nephew to Donna Richardson and Cheryl Watson Garrett. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Albert and Jewell Richardson and Phil and Thelma Watson; his nephew Elijah Watson Resler; and his uncle Larry Watson.
Kirk lived life to the fullest, always planning the next vacation or fishing trip. His deep intelligence and endurance in fighting for his life has been a true lesson in perseverance for every person who had the pleasure of knowing him. He fought hard. He finished well.
Until we meet again, KMW, you will live on in our hearts.
Memorial contributions are suggested to Peace River Wildlife Center (https://prwildlife.org/) and the American Cancer Society. Condolences may be left online at the Anderson Herald Bulletin.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at First United Methodist Church in Anderson (masks recommended) on Wednesday, June 17 at 1:30pm. This service will be streamed at: https://youtu.be/E51Yu0Tu2Jk