In Memoriam: Lester "Hoyt" Watson


The Wood Hole Oceanographic Institution announces with great sorrow the death of retiree Lester “Hoyt” Watson on October 20, 2011.  He was 93.

Hoyt was born April 30, 1918, in Brookline, MA, son of the late Lester Watson and the late Katharyn Hoyt Watson. Hoyt attended Chestnut Hill and Fessenden Schools. He graduated from Noble and Greenough School in 1935 and Harvard College in 1940, where he was a member of the Owl Club, DKE, and Naval ROTC. He was on active duty with the U.S. Navy from 1941-1945, including command of the USS Submarine Chaser-517, USS Surprise (PG-63) and USS Bazely (DE-2).  Under his command, USS Surprise escorted USAT Effie Morrisey on supply missions to weather stations in Greenland. He was honorably discharged from the Navy as Lt. Commander.

Hoyt was employed by Pan American Airways from 1945-1948 and by Smith, Kline & French Laboratories from 1948-1961.

Hoyt began his career at WHOI in 1961 as personnel manager.  In 1966, he was development manager.  In 1967 he was executive assistant for the Associates Program.  He retired in 1983 and then was rehired that same year as executive assistant for the Associates Program until 1987.

He volunteered with Coastline Elderly Services from 1998-2005 as a director and member of the advisory board. He also held various volunteer positions in the Town of Marion over many years.

He was a member of the Brookline Country Club from 1946-1995, the Beverly Yacht Club since 1950, of which he was commodore from 1973-1975. He was a trustee of the Beverly Land Trust from 1955-2005. He was a life trustee of the Sippican Lands Trust. Member of the Cruising Club of America since 1975, of which he was post-captain of the Buzzard’s Bay Post 1996-1998. He was also a life member of the Flower Class Corvette Association and the U.S. Naval War College Foundation.

An avid small-boat enthusiast since his teens, his greatest enjoyment was to be involved in anything that helped expose young people to any form of sailing. He spent countless hours in his boat Tarquin assisting with sailing races in Buzzards Bay for the Beverly Yacht Club.

He is survived by his wife, the former Anne Nagel Sweetser; two sons, Jacob Loring Watson of Portland, Maine, and Douglas Homer Watson of Marion, MA; two daughters, Elizabeth Hoyt Watson of Felton, California, and Mary Sweetser Watson Hawley of Ripton, Vermont; seven grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.

A memorial service is planned at St. Gabriel’s Church in Marion on Saturday, November 5 at 1:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, contributions would be welcome at the Community Boating Center, Inc., Box 41021, New Bedford, MA 02744.

Information for this obituary was supplied by Hoyt’s family.


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