A. L. Watson

From SEG Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Arthur Lee Watson (1920-1970)

Memorial [1]

Contributed by W. H. I'eese

Arthur Lee Watson died suddenly of a coronary occlusion on June 17, 1970. He was 49 years old when death ended his technically oriented 22-year career in geophysics.

Mr. Watson was born December 10, 1920 in Houston, Texas. He attended elementary school in Houston, graduated from St. Thomas High School in 1939, and obtained an Associate Science Degree in Electronics from the University of Houston in 1946. His college attendance was interrupted from 1942 to 1946 while he served as technical sergeant in the Army Air Force. During his assignment to the 556th AAF Base Unit (6th Ferrying Group) at Long Beach Army Air Field, Arthur received a commendation for "outstanding accomplishment in making the Project Baker MA-T installation on the C-47 in record time," thereby helping to accomplish an important mission for our country.

After the war, he returned to Houston to continue his college education. While attending a Catholic Youth Organization meeting .at the St. Vincent De Paul Church in 1946, Arthur was introduced to Kathleen Fochtman, who became his wife in 1948. The Catholic church played an important part in his life. He was a devoted and untiring worker for the church and lived by his religion. Arthur never met a man he didn't like and was never too busy or too tired to lay aside his problems in order to help someone else.Arthur enjoyed all spectator sports--football, baseball and basketball, particularly. Gardening was his favorite outdoor exercise, planting and cultivating everything, especially trees such as oaks and cheery laurels.

Ham radio was his greatest hobby and he spent many hours in the evening talking to others all over the world--call letters WSMKT. Through "hamming," he phone-patched for patients in the Medical Center, thus allowing them to talk to their families in Caracas and other cities in South America. Airplanes were of special interest, but his health condition denied him the pleasure of piloting, so he had to be content as a radio communications "ground" pilot.

Arthur started his geophysical career with the McCollum Exploration Company on March 21, 1948, where he worked up to geophysical electronic laboratory director. Although he worked mostly in south Louisiana and west Texas, his geophysical "trouble shooting" activities carried him from --34 areas of Alberta and Saskatchewan to 120 areas of the Libyan desert. Arthur was closely involved with the initial concepts of the "thumper" weight dropping system with Dr. Burton McCollum. The industry has benefited from his contributions to the development and early use of magnetic tape recording, AM and FM, and the use of radios on seismic field operations. Through various company mergers, he worked with McCollum, Ray International, Ray Geophysical Company, and Mandrel Industries, Inc., where he became manager of geophysical crew support.

He was a member of the Houston Geophysical Society, SEG, Houston Amateur Radio Club, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Arthur is survived by his wife, Kay, and son, Arthur, Jr. His many friends will remember him as a sincere and compassionate man who worked tirelessly and wholeheartedly on the job at hand. His accomplishments were many in his short life.


  1. Memorial Geophysics, Vol. 35, No.6, December 1970