Ernest Watson Jr. affectionately known by his family and friends as “Ernie” was born in Gary, Indiana on November 5, 1959, to Ernest Sr. and Mary Watson. He was the youngest of four siblings.
Ernie loved the Lord and accepted Him as his Savior at an early age and was baptized at Galilee Missionary Baptist Church, Gary, IN by the late Rev. T.P. Johnson.
Ernie was a graduate of Gary, Indiana’s Horace Mann High School class of 1977. Following high school, he enlisted in the United States Navy and attended boot camp in Kingsville, Texas. There he met and wed Maria Tucker in 1985 and to this union two beautiful children were born: Allessandra and Ernest III, known to many as “Bubba”. One of Ernie’s biggest accomplishments was being a father. Anyone who knew him could attest to the immense pride he had in his children and the relationship they shared.
Petty Officer First Class Ernest Watson Jr., favorably nicknamed “EW”, was known as a leader and someone who afforded many of his shipmates a “home away from home”. He was notorious for telling the truth, whether you liked it or not, and steered many sailors back on the right track with his candor. His tours of duty included Misawa and Yokosuka Japan, and San Diego, California. Petty Officer Watson completed his military obligation after 17 years, 3 years short of a 20-year retirement to become a full-time dad to his two young children.
Recognizing the need to be closer to family, Ernie relocated from San Diego, California back to his hometown of Gary, Indiana in 1999. With the help of his stepmother Dorothy Watson, he successfully raised Allessandra and Bubba while making a transition from a military to civilian lifestyle. While back at home he was a valued staff member at Mac Steel for 10 years and Gordon Brothers Steel for 9 years, respectively.
In 2001, Ernie became a member of Zion Missionary Baptist Church, East Chicago, IN under the leadership of Rev. Dr. J.C. Wade, Jr, Pastor/Emeritus and Pastor Charles L. Thompson Jr. It was there his relationship with the Lord blossomed. He faithfully attended 7:30am morning worship services and was a member of the Men’s Sunday School class. His love and compassion for young people led him to devote his time and talent to the Teen Ministry and serve as a Youth Sunday School teacher. He also volunteered his time providing security during the women’s ministry conferences.
His dedication to the church and love for Pastor Thompson was evident as he never hesitated to lend a helping hand whenever called upon. He was a faithful and cheerful giver and greeted everyone with a playful smile.
In 2012, Ernie met the love of his life, his fiancée Glenda Henderson Tucker. They spent precious years making memories while worshipping together, traveling with family and friends, or simply enjoying each other’s company. The two were engaged to be married in the fall of 2022.
Ernest “Ernie” Watson. Jr left in his wake an indelible legacy of love, humor and compassion. He was an encourager of people and a fierce protector of those who he loved. In his leisure, he was a budding fisherman, avid lover of all sports and music, and master bowler touting two 300-point games under his belt. He will be sorely missed by those who knew and loved him. We love him, but God loved him best.
Ernie made the transition to his heavenly home on Friday January 28, 2022 at Gary Northlake Methodist Hospital. He is preceded in death by his parents, Ernest Sr. and Mary Watson, sister Marie Watson and brother Rickie Watson, Sr.
He leaves to cherish his memories his daughter Allessandra (Ashley) Rhodes of Okinawa, Japan, son Ernest Watson III, East Chicago, IN, (step)mother Dorothy Watson, Indianapolis, IN. Fiancée, Glenda Tucker, East Chicago, IN, two grandchildren Castiel Watson and Blythe Rhodes. Siblings Connie Robinson, Forest City, AR, Damond (Leola) Watson Sr., Cordova, TN, Ernest Jerome Watson, Indianapolis, IN, L’Tanya (Anton) Hall, Snellville, GA, Johnnie Johnson, Indianapolis, IN. Eight nieces; Shekela D., Michaela, Jenna, Raina, Brooke, Chelsea, Riley, Autumn. Eight nephews; Demond T., James L, Rickie Jr, Damond Jr., Corban, Trevor, Piercen, and Ivan. Ride or Die friends Mallory Webb, Reginald McBride and Regena (Winke) Gains. The 17th and Grant St. shop friends and Olympia Lanes Bowling family. Godmother’s Arlessie McNeil and Erma Monroe. Mentors turned friend, Jerry Davis and Clifton Gooden and a host of cousins, relatives, and dear friends.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Ernest Watson, Jr., please visit our floral store.