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Remembering Watson Tidball

Remembering Watson Tidball

Remembering Watson Tidball

Watson Tidball, beloved member of the extended Greenville College family, passed away at his home on Easter Sunday evening, March 31, 2013. He leaves behind a legacy of dedication and service not only to Greenville College, but also to the City of Greenville and Bond County. While "Prof" Tidball's faculty colleagues recall him as a loyal supporter and enthusiastic champion for the College, many more in Greenville and its surrounding area remember him as a gracious, willing servant and friend.

"Watson never met a stranger," observed Greenville College President Emeritus Richard Stephens. "He was one of those people who just make a great and positive difference in the lives of thousands of people."    

Watson was born July 7, 1925. He graduated from Greenville College in 1949 and began service to his alma mater the day after graduation, the beginning of a career with the College that spanned more than 40 years.

Watson received his master's degree in business administration from Washington University and was awarded an honorary doctorate for public service from Greenville College in 1984. In 1994, the College granted him emeritus status as an associate professor of management and planned giving. In 2012 it announced an endowed scholarship bearing Watson's name to annually recognize outstanding students in the areas of accounting, management, and marketing.

"He was gracious, kind and obviously loved God," reflected Randy Bergen, Greenville College's acting president. "We will miss his big personality, his positive attitude and his willingness to befriend anyone!"

In July 2005, the Illinois House of Representatives honored Watson's 80th birthday by passing a resolution commemorating his extensive service to members of the Greenville community and Bond County. It hailed his involvement in the Chamber of Commerce, Commercial Club, the City Planning Commission, and Bond County Senior Center as only a few examples of his community engagement.

Many recall Watson as master of ceremonies for events at the Bond County Fair and Fair Oaks Nursing Home. His music and comedy entertained dozens of audiences for church and civic groups. Watson found countless expressions for service to others - ringing Salvation Army bells, advising elderly folks about their financial concerns, taxiing persons in need of rides to the airport, hospitals and doctor appointments. The pleasure, one knew, was all his.

When Watson's son, Craig, wrote a blog post last year about his dad's entertaining ways, Watson responded, "What great memories. I am looking for my joke book and may go on the circuit again!" 

In 2008, Greenville College dedicated the Watson and Bonnie Tidball Alumni House and Welcome Center to reflect the signature hospitality of its namesakes. "The total number of guests our parents entertained over the years is mindboggling," recalled Jana Spencer in tribute to her parents. "Mom and Dad carry out the teachings of the apostles as they practice hospitality without complaint and share with believers who are in need. They have done so sacrificially, yet they would be the first to tell you that they're the ones who are blessed."    

Watson is survived by his wife Bonnie and their six children - Curt, Jana, Craig, Scott, Leslie, and Todd - all Greenville College alumni.

Visitation will take place on Wednesday, April 3, from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Donnell-Wiegand Funeral Home in Greenville. A funeral service is scheduled for Thursday, April 4, 11 a.m., at the Greenville Free Methodist Church. Greenville College will announce a memorial service at a later date.

Memorials can be made to the Greenville College Tidball Alumni House, Greenville Regional Hospital, or the Greenville Free Methodist Church.

This story was published on April 02, 2013




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