The life of the party. Thoughtful. Funny. Compassionate. That is how family and friends will remember Edward Zarius Watson Jr. In an era when success and achievement for African Americans was an act of defiance, Watson defied all odds and soared to exceptional heights. On Oct. 15 after battling a series of debilitating illnesses for nearly a year, he was taken away from his family and the city he called home for over 80 years.
Born in 1917, Watson was sent to live in Philadelphia due to his rambunctious behavior before returning to Baltimore at age 12. The patriarch of the family, a strict disciplinarian, held his namesake and Watson’s younger sister Mary to very high standards of scholarship and ethic. A trait that Watson passed on to his three children, Adrienne, Edward III and Anthony.
Watson attended Booker T. Washington Junior High School and Frederick Douglass Senior High School. He was 20 years old when Joe Louis defeated James Braddock for the heavyweight title of the world. He became a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. in 1939 and attended Morgan State College where he ran track and field and studied history. He went on to the Howard University School of Divinity, graduating in 1945, before beginning his life long career as an educator in the Baltimore Public School system.
According to his daughter, Watson was an avid reader, great conversationalist and likened to a griot for his captivating style of storytelling. “My father had a tremendous sense of humor and a stellar memory,” she told the AFRO. “It wasn’t until I was older that I realized what an impact he had on others. Everyone has an Eddie story to tell.”
In 1959, Watson along with Archie Lewis, Roland Ganges, Bernard Stokes, Sr., and Alphonso Cottman, began making plans to start the James Mosher Little League in West Baltimore. They aimed to decrease juvenile delinquency by creating positive influences in the lives of city youth and played their first season with six teams in 1960. Today the league has expanded 20 teams for boys and girls aged 4- 15.
Dedric Rogers, Polemarch for the Baltimore Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi remembers Watson as a visionary and creative genius. “Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Eddie Z have lost a great friend and mentor. The world has lost an amazing human being.”
At 94, Watson or “Easy Watson” as he was fondly known, was the second oldest living member of the fraternity.
Life Celebration for Edward ‘Easy’ Watson
The Baltimore community will remember Edward Watson on Saturday, Oct. 29, beginning with the family hour, 10 a.m., a Kappa service 10:30 a.m., with the Memorial service immediately following at Sharp Street Memorial United Methodist Church, 1206 Etting St. The inurnment is 2 p.m. at Druid Ridge Cemetery, 7900 Park Heights Ave. A repast will follow at The Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity House, 4903 Liberty Heights Ave.