David P.H. Watson of Ridgefield, a retired partner of one of the nation’s leading firms specializing in maritime law, passed away on June 5th at the age of 92.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Barbara Davis Watson of Ridgefield and his son Christopher D. Watson, daughter Priscilla Watson Eckhardt, daughter-in-law, Patricia Messer Watson, and son-in-law William R. Eckhardt Jr., and his grandchildren Rebecca Chisolm Watson, John Aaron Watson, Alexandra Fenton Eckhardt and Hilary Davis Eckhardt. David is also survived by his sister Monique Wiedel.
David was born on April 11, 1920 in Toronto, Canada, the son of Benjamin P. Watson, M.D. and Angele Hamendt Watson. David’s father was born in Anstruther, Fifeshire, Scotland. His mother was born in St. Nicholas, Belgium. The family moved to Edinburgh in 1922 when Dr. Watson was offered the position of Professor of Obs. and Gyn. at Edinburgh University. In 1926 they moved to New York City where David’s father became Professor of Obs. and Gyn. at Columbia University and also assumed duties as Director of Sloane Hospital for Women.
David attended the Groton School and graduated from Yale University in 1942. During World War II he served as a naval lieutenant commander on the U.S.S. Charles F. Hughes (DD428). Upon returning to civilian life, he earned a law degree from the University of Virginia and subsequently joined the law firm of Haight, Gardner, Poor and Havens in New York City.
David met Barbara in 1950 at the Silver Spring Country Club, enjoying their mutual love of golf. They were married in January 1952. During the mid ’80’s they built their current home in Ridgefield in which to settle during their retirement years and enjoy the open surrounding land where nature is on display to be discovered, seen and enjoyed by all the family and of course, his beloved “Scotties”. From their property, open space has been carved out and given to the Land Conservancy of Ridgefield for safe keeping.
Over the years in Ridgefield, David dedicated his time to many of his passions. As the 79th President of the Saint Andrews Society he was named an Honorary Officer of the British Empire. Years were also spent in writing an account of the seagoing lives of his family. His book, The Captains Watson and the Empire Line, was published in 1989.
Many enjoyable summers were spent in Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, Ma., overlooking Nantucket Sound. Here he was able to indulge his love and talent as a photographer of nature. His nature photography has been on exhibit for all to enjoy at the Ridgefield Library, Founders Hall, Meadow Ridge, Ridgefield Garden Club and Ballard Park. Images range from a red tailed hawk to an intricate ground spider web glistening with morning dew, from dowitchers to sanderlings in full running stride.
With his appreciation, knowledge and passion for reading, music and grand opera, David has enjoyed the Ridgefield Book Club and music lectures at Founder’s Hall for many years.
A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, June 19th at 2 pm at St. Stephen’s Church, Ridgefield. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to The Ridgefield Library Expansion Fund, 472 Main Street Ridgefield; www.ridgefieldlibrary.org