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Merle Conrad Watts

July 31, 1938 - December 24, 2020

Service Date January 15, 2021

Graveside service will be at 2:00pm on Friday, January 15th, 2021 at the Black Hills National Cemetery.

Merle Watts, 82, Rapid City, passed away December 24, 2020 at Avantara Nursing Home in Rapid City after struggling several months with health issues. He was born July 31, 1938 in Buffalo, SD, the son of Richard and Clara Amanda (Olson) Watts. He lived it Bullock, SD as a child and the family moved to Buffalo when he started school. He joined the US Army in 1960, serving 2 ½ of the three years in Germany. In 1963 he worked for Harding County Dept out of Buffalo and he continued to help support his mother.

On June 20, 1964 he married Phyllis Erickson, his wife of 56 years, at the Lutheran Church in Bowman, ND. They moved to Belle Fourche where he worked for the State Dept. They had two sons, Michael Watts, born September 6, 1967 in Belle Fourche and Bryan Watts, born August 13, 1969 in Belvidere, IL. Merle was a Heavy Equipment Operator in several different areas during his life. In 1977 they moved to Belle Fourche where he worked at Baroid Corporation for 26 years. He retired February 5, 2001. He continued working but with the Lookout Landscaping Co until 2006, when he and Phyllis both retired. They sold their home in Belle Fourche and moved to the Johnson Siding area 10 miles out of Rapid City which is currently their home.

Merle was a member of the St James Lutheran Church, Belle Fourche for several years. Although he struggled with health issues for the last several years he loved being with everyone as much as possible, hunting, fishing, and camping or simply watching the grandchildren and great Grandchildren as they played. His family was his life. His hobby was woodworking projects and he made several items and enjoyed giving them to family members. Merle worked several years helping with cub Scouts and boy Scouts while both boys were active in the program. He also was a softball coach for several years while the boys were in grade school. He worked with the Lutheran AAL Benevolence program for several years helping to organize community benefits to earn money for those who needed the help.

Survivors include his wife Phyllis, son Michael and his wife Wendy (Clark) Watts, Sheridan, WY; grandchildren, Blayke (Hartman) and Albert Gosselin, great granddaughter, Alayah Nave, Bastrop, TX; Taylor Watts and Austin Mette, great grandson, Asher Mette, Belle Fourche; grandchildren, Logan, Dyllan, Devon and Ivan Watts, great grandson Alexander Adsit and his mother Autumn (Adsit) Satterlee, and family member Austin Moreland, Sheridan, WY; sister-in-law, Ella Arnell, Baker, MT; Muriel Getz, Rhame, ND; brother-in-law Dennis and Shari Erickson, Baker, MT; nieces and nephews and their families, Dwaine and Najette Tollefsrud, Rapid City; Diane and Al Odom, North Pole, AK; Pete Tollefsrud, Spearfish; Toni and Doug Seiner, Mitchell, SD; Tim Tollefsrud and Trish Kindt, Pierre, SD and numerous nieces, nephews, cousings and friends. He looked forward to their calls and visits. He is preceded in death by his son Bryan Lee Watts, parents Richard and Amanda (Olson) Watts, father-in-law and mother-in-law Glen and Ruth (Hanson) Erickson, sister and brother-in-law Doris (Watts) and Slevin Tollefsrud, brother-in-law Harold Erickson, Hilding Arnell, Roger Getz and sister-in-law Leone (Rotering) Erickson.

Because of Corona virus a Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. Behrens-Wilson Funeral Home, Rapid City, SD is in care of the arrangements. Merle will be laid to rest at Black Hills National Cemetery.

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