ADVERTISEMENT

Jack Watson, 93, Supreme Court justice from 1979-1996

February 17, 2022 GMT

LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — Jack Crozier Watson, who was a Louisiana Supreme Court justice from 1979 through 1996, has died at the age of 93.

“He was a good friend and I respected him greatly. His opinions were always well written,” said Charles Riddle III, district attorney for Avoyelles Parish, part of the Supreme Court district that Watson served.

Watson died Feb. 11, according to an online obituary. Johnson Funeral Home said his service was to be private, and it cannot give the date or say whether it has taken place.

“Jack will be buried in his judicial robe alongside his family in Jonesboro, Louisiana,” where he was born, the obituary said.

Watson enrolled in Southwest Louisiana Institute — now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette — at age 16 and was a debate team leader there, the obituary said.

He graduated from Louisiana State University’s law school after Air Force service in the Philippines, Japan and Korea during the Korean War, according to his state Supreme Court biography.

ADVERTISEMENT

He was Lake Charles’ city prosecutor in 1960. As an assistant district attorney in Calcasieu Parish from 1961-1964, he helped prosecute the first large drug trial in Lake Charles, the obituary said. He was 35 when elected in 1964 to the district court serving Calcasieu and Cameron parishes. He served there until 1972, when he was made an ad hoc judge for the state appeals court based in Baton Rouge.

He was elected in 1974 to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal in southwest Louisiana and was unopposed in his 1979 election to the state Supreme Court. He lost the seat to Jeannette Theriot Knoll after a heated 1996 race.

He is survived by his wife, Sue Watson, whom he met in law school, and by one of their two sons, three grandchildren, and one of his two brothers.

“Jack had a passion for travel and photography. He photographed polar bears in Canada and wild animals in Africa,” his obituary said.