Francis Hansell “Hank” Watt was born on February 24, 1923, to William Augustin and “Bob” Mary Lindsey Watt of Thomasville, GA.
The third of four sons, Hank enjoyed practical jokes, poetry, and literature, hunting, fishing, FSU football, baseball, and exploring the natural world.
After high school and a thwarted attempt to join the Army at 17, he graduated pre-med from Davidson College (ODK,1944), then entered Johns Hopkins Medical School. There, he was part of the first surgical team success at blue baby heart repair in 1947-48.
While in medical school, he met his future wife and physician, Dr. Henrietta “Honey” Watt, whom he married in September 1948.
He served as a captain in the US Army (stationed in Puerto Rico) he continued his lifelong participation in medical missions Ometepec and Morelia, Mexico, Haiti, Kenya, the former Zaire (Democratic Republic of Congo), Malawi, and Indonesia, all the while maintaining practice as a general surgeon.
Dr. Watt established the first intensive care unit at Tallahassee Memorial Regional Hospital and performed a wide range of surgical procedures there, also serving patients from nearby towns like Havana, Quincy, and Monticello, often accepting payment in corn, beans and garden produce.
A deeply committed Christian, Dr. Watt served as an elder at Faith Presbyterian Church for over 50 years, taught Sunday School, and attended the weekly Men’s Bible Study well into his nineties.
He continued international medical mission outreach, starting a Green Stamps drive to buy a plane for missionaries to Zaire (Democratic Republic of Congo) and co-founded the Medical Benevolence Foundation (1964) (PCUSA) which provides direct physician care in several foreign countries.
Dr. Watt loved to hunt, fish, and grow his own produce in his hydroponic garden. At one point, he raised quail to help in training his Llewellin setters. After mastering fixed-wing gliders, he earned his instrumentation pilot’s license at 67.
He was a naturalist of the first order, able to identify every tree, fish, fowl, reptile, and weather pattern. He loved the Big Bend and was committed to preserving its natural resources.
Dr. Watt was a committed family man, taking his family on far-flung jaunts to Mexico, the World’s Fair (1964) and vacations at St Teresa, and Cape San Blas. He is pre-deceased by his wife of 63 years, and his son, Francis Hansell Watt, Jr.
He leaves behind six daughters, Lindsey Watt March, Helen E. “Betsy” Watt, MD., Laura Watt “Jeanie” Casati (Bill Lacey), Sandy Watt Hearn (Tom), Jamie Watt Jones and Carolyn Watt Cantwell (Jeff), and daughter-in-law, Margie Best Watt, 16 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren; 3 cousins, George Watt, Marianne “Sissy” Jeffries Williams, and Maggie Watt Roddenberry, and a host of longtime friends.
The Watt family wishes to extend our heartfelt gratitude to his devoted caregivers.
Interment will be Sunday, August 18, at 10 a.m. at Laurel Hill Cemetery, Thomasville, GA, with a 2 pm memorial service at Faith Presbyterian Church, Tallahassee, FL, Reception in the Fellowship Hall to follow.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Medical Benevolence Foundation, (9555 W Sam Houston Pkwy S Suite 170, Houston, TX 77099), and the Haitian American Friendship Foundation (HAFF- P.O. Box 1349 State College, PA 16804-1349 USA)
Special thanks to Rocky Bevis of Bevis Funeral Home in assisting this family with these arrangements. Phone (850/385-2193 or www.bevisfh.com).
To plant a tree in memory of F. Hansell Watt M.D., please visit Tribute Store.
Copyright 2019, Thomasville Times-Enterprise / CNHI, LLC. All Rights Reserved.