Nov. 24, 1942 – Oct. 31, 2013
Edward O. Watts Sr., director of Watts Architecture & Engineering, died Thursday in Buffalo. He was 70.
Mr. Watts, of Grand Island, graduated from Camden Academy in Alabama and earned a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from Tuskegee University and a master’s degree from Baldwin Wallace College.
He began his career at Lockheed Martin in Atlanta, as a design engineer, and moved on to work for DuPont in Cleveland, Ohio, before being transferred to Niagara Falls.
Later, he began his own business, now called Watts Architecture & Engineering, which recently celebrated 25 years. The company, which started with one employee – Mr. Watts – now employs about 100 people.
He received many business and design awards, chief of which is the U.S. Small Business Administration Graduate Firm of the Year Award in 2010.
His company provides scholarships every year at the University at Buffalo for minority students, one for the School of Engineering and the other for the School of Architecture.
Mr. Watts was a member of Lincoln Memorial United Methodist Church, and served on its board of trustees and as church treasurer. He also sang in the senior choir. He also was a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.
As a member of the Tuskegee University Alumni Association, he returned to the school annually to work with the graduate professional engineers to raise funds to upgrade the department and for scholarships. While there, he spoke to students about careers in engineering and small business ownership. He also helped fund the Watts Family Scholarships at Alabama State University in honor of his mother, who was a graduate of the university.
His favorite pastime was playing the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama.
Mr. Watts completed the University at Buffalo Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Program, and for more than 10 years returned as a mentor for numerous business owners.
He developed the Watts Open Golf Tournament for his employees and awarded the prized Watts green jacket annually. He also organized the American Institute of Architects/American Council of Engineering Consultants of Western New York Golf Tournament.
Survivors include his wife of 44 years, the former Lydia Thurston; two sons, Edward and Jonathan; three sisters, Dr. Vivian DeShields, Claudette Camp and Dr. Geraldine Bell; and a brother, Harold.
A memorial service will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Lincoln Memorial United Methodist Church, 641 Masten Ave.