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Originally published: 2014-02-07 14:41:42
Last modified: 2014-02-07 14:42:27

Kemper Reed Watson

Command Sergeant Major (Retired) Kemper Reed Watson, 79, of Thompson Street, Hendersonville, and a former resident of Boone, died Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 5, 2014, in Hendersonville.

Born Oct. 16, 1934, in Vinita, Okla., he was a son of the late Ivan Samuel and Lena Belle Coleman Watson, and a lifelong Oklahoma Sooner fan.

Kemper received two Purple Hearts during his two tours in Vietnam, and retired after 26 years of service to his country as the Command Sergeant Major with the 82nd Airborne in Fort Bragg, where he became a UNC Tarheel and Carolina Panthers fan. Never one to rest, Kemper joined the postal service, and he and Roberta moved to Boone, where he became known as a mail carrier with a personable approach in the downtown area.

He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Roberta Smith Watson; his children, Kem White and husband, Joe, of Watertown, N.Y., Robert Watson and wife, Joann, of Norman, Okla., Kathy Norris and husband, Kevin, of Asheville, and Kecia Morris of Hickory; eight grandchildren, Aaron White, Evan White, Kelsey Hobbs, Kellen Watson, Quentin Norris, Brandon Norris, Hannah Pletcher, and Christian Morris; and three great-grandchildren.

Leaving the postal service after 15 years, he and Roberta stayed active delivering "Meals on Wheels" and helping to re-build homes for hurricane victims. Taking their grandchildren camping and visiting the sights from California to Florida, Kemper and Roberta stayed active until his recent diagnosis with ALS.

Graveside services with military honors will be conducted 10 a.m. Monday, Feb. 10, 2014, at the North Carolina Veterans Cemetery, Black Mountain.

A celebration of life for Kemper Reed Watson will be conducted 2 p.m. Monday at the First Presbyterian Church in Boone. Officiating will be the Rev. Don Price. The family will receive friends following the service at the church.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Four Seasons Hospice, 571 South Allen Road, Flat Rock, NC 28731.

Online condolences may be shared with the Watson family at

Austin & Barnes Funeral Home & Crematory is serving the Watson family.