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Rudolph Watson

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Oct. 26, 1930 — May 14, 2020

KENLY — Roland Rudolph Watson, 89, peacefully passed away Thursday, May 14, 2020, in the comfortable surroundings of his home with his wife, Pat, by his side.

Born in Wilson County on Oct. 26, 1930, he was the son of the late Roland Baxter Watson and Dixie Virginia Ballance Watson.

Rudolph was self-employed as a house painter. He was a master craftsman and was more of an artist than a painter. His artistic skills were not learned, they were a gift from God. Rudolph loved saltwater fishing, nothing was better than a day spent along the coast or on a pier with a rod in hand. He was an accomplished musician playing the steel guitar and serving for more than 50 years in the church choir. He will be remembered by his family as an excellent cook and grillmaster. Rudolph was a longtime youth baseball coach in the Kenly area where he honed the skills of many to succeed in both sports and their daily lives. He was an avid UNC fan and could be found in front of the television any time the Tar Heels played. Family was paramount to Rudolph. He will be remembered as a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather and friend.

Rudolph was a veteran of the U.S. Navy, having served in three separate deployments during the Korean War. In the midst of his military service, he got the opportunity to make a cameo appearance in the motion picture “The Caine Mutiny” starring Humphrey Bogart.

Rudolph was a faithful and dedicated servant to his Lord Jesus Christ. He was a devoted member of Kenly United Methodist Church where he served in numerous capacities over the years.

A private funeral service for the immediate family was held at noon Sunday, May 17, at Kenly United Methodist Church with his pastor, the Rev. Paul Dunham, officiating. The service was livestreamed and a recording can be viewed on the church’s Facebook page at The graveside service was held at 1 p.m. at the Watson Family Cemetery near the home.

Rudolph is survived by his wife, Pat Watson; children and their spouses, Stan and Beth Watson, Jeff and Renée Watson and Elizabeth and Greg Kennedy; grandchildren, Claire Samosky (Mark), Annie Pitser (Heyden), Meghan Watson, Parker Watson, Tyler Watson, Gracie Watson, Ryan Kennedy, Josh Kennedy and Cody Kennedy; great-grandchildren, Jackson Samosky and Benjamin Samosky; and several nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother, Billy Watson; and sister, Betty Lou Finch.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Kenly United Methodist Church, PO Box 133, Kenly, NC 27542.

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