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Published: Sunday, 5/15/2005

Minister promoted the work of church

Paul Watson, 83, a Church of Christ minister for more than 60 years who retired from the Echo Meadows congregation in Oregon, died Friday in Toledo Hospital from complications after heart surgery on Tuesday.

Mr. Watson retired in 2001, but he still taught classes at the church, his wife, Ruth, said.

The congregation was on Western Avenue in South Toledo when the couple arrived in 1964, but was planning a move to land it owned on Starr Avenue.

"He did a lot of fund-raising and visiting and talking and promoting the work," his wife said. The result was a new church building in Oregon, which opened in August, 1966.

Churches of Christ have elders and deacons. The minister is not called "pastor." Mr. Watson's satisfaction was "in leading the people to a more righteous life and teaching the Bible to whomever he could," his wife said.

"He visited hospitals. People having marital problems, he was there for them," his wife said. "One person said he was not just a preacher. He was a minister, ministering to the needs of the people."

The Watsons spent 4 1/2 years in Israel - 1969 to 1971 and 1983 to 1986 - to work at a school and three churches the congregation then supported in Nazareth.

Mr. Watson's father was a Church of Christ minister, and the family moved as he received new assignments. Mr. Watson started preaching at 17. He graduated from a Bowling Green, Ky., high school. He went to a two-year college in Tennessee and what is now Eastern Michigan University. He received a bachelor's degree from Pepperdine University and a master's degree from Ashland Theological Seminary and did postgraduate work at Wayne State and Bowling Green State universities.

Before Oregon, he was at congregations in Detroit, Lansing, and Wayne, Mich. He liked to travel. In March, he and his wife took a group to visit church landmarks in Greece and Turkey.

Surviving are his wife, Ruth, whom he married June 28, 1944; sons, Richard, Kevin, and Terry Watson; nine grandchildren, and two great-grandsons.

Funeral services will be at 7 p.m. tomorrow in Echo Meadows Church of Christ, where visitation will begin at 3 p.m. Arrangements are by the Eggleston-Meinert-Pavley Mortuary.

The family suggests tributes to the church.

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