TAPS – Francis Watts
LEXINGTON, Va., Aug. 12, 2022—The Superintendent regrets to inform the VMI community of the death of longtime VMI employee Francis Watts who passed away July 28 in Lexington at the age of 91.
Watts served 20 years within the athletic department in various support roles, with a primary focus of managing the equipment for many of VMI’s athletic teams. While his service was principally focused on the athletic department, Watt’s interactions greatly expanded as a result of his often daily participation in support of the Corps of Cadets. In addition to his assigned duties, he fulfilled an important role of mentoring and guiding generations of cadets.
“Mr. Watts would not have described himself as a mentor to cadets, however, that’s exactly who he was,” said Brig. Gen. Dallas Clark ’99. “He knew something about how to interface with the younger generation and could be counted on for either encouragement or a frank talk about how to persevere through the VMI system and see beyond ourselves.”
Scott Wachenheim, VMI head football coach, added, “Francis Watts was one of the first men who greeted me upon my arrival on post. He was a true servant. He showed up nightly to do our laundry and distribute it to the players. It is men like Francis Watts who work tirelessly behind the scenes who are the keys to the success of any team.”
Watts was on the stage in the most recent VMI Community Theatre production this summer. His full obituary can be found here. Memorial gifts may be given to Lexington's First Baptist Church.
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