Ralph Watson, 87, of Dawsonville, died July 8, 2016.
Ralph was born to Max Olen and Emma T. Watson on June 29, 1929 in Tallahassee, Fla. He was born along with his identical twin, Rudolph Watson of Tallahassee, Fla.
He had two older siblings, the late T.C. Raker and June W. Revells of Chattahoochee, Fla.
His three younger siblings were the late Thomas K. Watson, the late Max O. Watson and Betty J. Swenson of Dawsonville.
Ralph graduated from Leon High School in Tallahassee, Fla. After serving in the United States Air Force from 1951-55, he felt the call to preach and was ordained in June of 1955.
Following his ordination, Ralph attended and graduated from Emmanuel College in Royston.
Ralph served as the pastor of Deland Florida Pentecostal Holiness Church for eight years. While in Deland, he attended Stetson University. Following his years in Deland, the conference sent Ralph and his wife, Mary, to Orlando, Fla., to manage a church-owned nursing facility. In 1965, Ralph and his family moved to Atlanta to work in sales and ministry, while continuing his education.
Once settled in Atlanta, Ralph graduated from Georgia State University. Later, Ralph attended Emory University, earning a Doctorate of Ministry degree in 1977, while serving as pastor of Sardis Congregational Christian Church in Covington.
Upon his retirement in 1994, Ralph ministered with the Drs. Eddie Fox and Winston Worrell for the World Methodist Evangelism Institute at Emory. During this time, they traveled around the world together providing training to Methodists on six continents.
Ralph was married to Mary E. Hanna Watson at her parent's home in Decatur County on June 2, 1950. The couple was married for 66 years.
In addition to his wife and siblings, survivors include his children, Duane and Deborah Watson of Bainbridge, Debbie and Charles Delong of Dahlonega; five grandchildren, Brian G. Garmon of Flowery Branch, Douglas D. Watson, Deanne M. Strong, both of Bainbridge, Kimberly M. Mincey of Dahlonega, Dayna M. Watson of Birmingham, Ala.; nine great-grandchildren, Sarah J. Reese of Athens, Christian R. Russell of Flowery Branch, A. Tyler Mincey of Dahlonega, Brian G. Garmon Jr. of Flowery Branch, Emma V. Watson of Bainbridge, Cadence M. Garmon of Flowery Branch, Kaitlin M. Mincey, Camden P. Mincey, both of Dahlonega, soon to be born Malia Rae Strong of Bainbridge; various other relatives also survive.
A graveside service is set for 10 a.m. July 12 at the Hannatown Cemetery in South Decatur County. Brian Garmon, Douglas Watson, Tyler Mincey, D.J. Strong, Caleb Olivent and Cameron Olivent will serve as pallbearers. The family will receive friends at Faceville United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall following the service.
A celebration of life is planned for 11 a.m. July 23 at the Dahlonega United Methodist Church in Dahlonega.
In lieu of flowers, donations were requested made to: World Methodist Evangelism Institute, 1531 Dickey Dr., Atlanta, GA 30322 or Dahlonega United Methodist Church Debt Reduction Fund, 107 South Park St., Dahlonega, GA 30533.
Ivey Funeral Home of Bainbridge is in charge of the arrangements.