Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Richard Watson 1946-2022


Married to Billie Hyde
Since November 22, 1986


November 22, 2022Journal Entry by Billie Hyde — November 22, 2022

Today is a bittersweet celebration; this is our 36th anniversary. It is also most likely our last, so I plan to make the most of it. I even bought flowers from the grocery store!
Richard has declined significantly in the past week or two. He is sleeping much more, has occasional bouts of confusion, and is very unsteady on his feet. He also has been very restless, moving frequently between bed and his chair. He fell again over the weekend, and said it was because he just blacked out. I've been nagging him to make sure he calls me to help him whenever he decides to move, but while he has lost a lot of his ability, he has not lost ANY of his stubbornness! 
Because of that I'll not leave the house unless I have someone with him. Thankfully I have some great neighbors. One of them is going to start picking up my groceries for me. I can order online and she just has to drive up and park. I guess Covid was good for something, since that didn't happen before here in Great Falls.
Thanks to all our friends and family for the good wishes and
support. It does mean a lot to us.

Dec 16 2022

Richard passed away this morning. I am both devastated to lose the love of my life, and also relieved that his fight is done.

Yesterday we made the difficult decision to move Richard to the Peace Hospice House here in Great Falls. On Wednesday he took a definite turn, having hallucinations and beginning to lose motor control. I was hoping it was just a bad day, but yesterday it continued and got worse. I called hospice and our nurse came right away to evaluate the situation.  She talked with Richard and he agreed to go to the hospice facility. She knew I would not be able to provide him the around-the-clock care he was needing with this  new situation.

When I left him last night to go home and get some much needed sleep, both the nurses and I thought this was simply a new chapter in his journey. I'm actually glad it happened this way though, because after three years of being in and out of hospitals, I knew he wasn't thrilled with the idea of being away from home again.

Sons Nate and Rich are coming to help me, and of course cousins Bob and Beth and our circle of friends and neighbors are here to help.

Richard chose long ago to be cremated and have his ashes scattered in the place we love so much-Glacier Park. Meanwhile we will be planning a celebration of life, and I'll post the details as soon as we have a plan.


We will be having a Celebration of Life for Richard on February 18 here in Great Falls. Our hope is that will allow time for everyone to make travel arrangements. It will be held in the Fireside Room at the University of Providence McGlothlin Center at 1 PM on Saturday, February 18. If by chance you decide to brave the Montana winter to join us, please let me know. Our only request is that you truly help us celebrate Richard's life; Hawaiian shirts and bright clothes are appropriate!

Richard also long ago decided on cremation, and we will scatter his ashes in Glacier Park late this summer. As children we spent a lot of time in Glacier, and after we were married we hiked the Highline Trail in Glacier as often as we could. It holds a special place in our hearts.

Nate and Nova, Rich, and Josh were all able to be here over the weekend to help with plans and to lend their support. My friends and neighbors have also all been incredibly helpful. Today is my first day on my own, and I'm planning to take a deep breath and relax. I know the coming weeks will see me processing all that has happened and getting used to being on my own, but the good thing is that my family and friends are incredibly helpful.


Richard Allan Watson was born in Conrad, Montana in 1946. He spent his early years on his grandparent’s farm west of Cutbank and moved “into town” at nine years old. He served a missionary tour in London in the late sixties when rock and roll was king; one has to wonder whether that was a wise move on the part of the church elders. He went to Brigham Young University, married, and moved to San Diego where he worked as a finish carpenter. He went to school at night and earned a law degree, passed the California Bar, and continued to work as a carpenter while using his law degree to overcome his speeding tickets. His four sons Richard, Thomas, Nathaniel, and Josh were all born in San Diego. He eventually divorced, and when he went to Cut Bank for a high school reunion in 1986, he met his childhood girlfriend Billie. They married that same year, and enjoyed 36 years together, raising his sons, working together, and traveling the world.

Richard was a lifelong motorcycle and car enthusiast, enjoying many cross-country trips. He loved tooling around in his Miata and then his Mini, usually driving far too fast and laughing all the while. He became what some people thought was an urban legend when he and two pals skateboarded down the Going-To-The Sun Highway in Glacier Park when they were in high school.

Richard is survived by his four sons Richard, Nathaniel, Thomas, and Joshua; his wife Billie; his grandchildren Lydia, Ayrton, and Conner; his sister Dee Harrington (Bill Harrington); his stepson Russ Dobransky (Joan Dobransky); and cousins Beth Sobolik (Bob Sobolik), Jim Collier (April Collier), and Christina Collier Heck.