LAKE CHARLES, La. — A former mayor of Lake Charles has died after suffering from heart disease for many years.
Johnson Funeral Home confirms that Edward Sweeney Watson died Wednesday in his home, surrounded by his family. He was 73.
Watson served as mayor from 1985 to 1989. He also served two years on the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury.
KPLC-TV reports (http://bit.ly/2cVnWkM ) Watson was one of the people who played a critical role in bringing Chennault Industrial Airport to the area. He’s also remembered for his efforts to four-lane Highway 171 from Interstate 10 in Lake Charles to Interstate 20 in Shreveport.
In a statement Thursday, Mayor Randy Roach said Watson led the effort that helped the city recover from the recession of the 1980s and his career of public service was part of a family tradition of community involvement.
“I remember Ed as a man who thoroughly enjoyed serving the people of Lake Charles, the legislative process, and the role of mayor as an ambassador of the city who met everyone with a smile,” Roach said. “He was a good friend and mentor to me personally and professionally. Shortly after I was elected, he told me to focus on the basics; to remember that my first responsibility was to the residents of the city; and never forget that we were part of a five-parish region.”
Roach said in four short years, Watson “helped create a new business climate that has contributed to much of the economic success we enjoy today.”
In 1998 Watson and his family moved to Houma for business and subsequently was hired as Terrebonne Parish’s port director, a post he held until he retired in 2000. He also was instrumental in establishing the Houma Downtown Marina.
In addition to Rebecca, his wife of 38 years, Watson is survived by three children, seven grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.
Memorial services are scheduled Sunday at 4 p.m. at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd.
Information from: KPLC-TV, http://kplctv.com