James Meredith WATTS
James Meredith WATTS
March 7, 1937 - May 31, 2004
Obituary from Fort Worth Star Telegram
Posted on Fri, Jun. 04, 2004
Doctor helped revitalize south side
JAMES MEREDITH WATTS | 1937-2004
FORT WORTH - In the early 1990s, when the defense industry was collapsing and the city of Fort Worth was suffering a devastating economic downturn, city leaders turned to Dr. James Meredith Watts for help.
People like former mayors Kay Granger and Kenneth Barr and then-City Councilman David Chappell knew Dr. Watts, -- a man trained to deliver babies -- was smart.
But more importantly, they knew he was compassionate.
Dr. Watts died Monday after a lengthy illness. He was 67.
Granger, who is now a U.S. representative, called Dr. Watts an "unsung hero" in Fort Worth's financial recovery.
"He was such a smart person and very giving," she said. "He never sought the limelight in any way. He just worked hard."
Born March 7, 1937, in Shawnee, Okla., Dr. Watts moved to Fort Worth in 1968 to begin a practice in obstetrics and gynecology. He eventually became chief of staff at Medical Plaza Hospital, just south of downtown.
Under his leadership, the hospital thrived, but the neighborhoods and small businesses around it were falling into ruin. Once-elegant buildings, constructed near the turn of the century, were transforming into cheap rental properties. Bars cluttered the streets.
Chappell said the city recruited Dr. Watts to help bring hospital administrators, business operators and homeowners together to revitalize the area. Success came -- much of it because of the well-liked doctor -- in the creation of the Fort Worth Southside Development District.
"He was a wonderful person, a great man," said Chappell, adding that Dr. Watts kept on fighting for people even after he became ill.
"He simply did not give up easily," the former councilman said.
Ellen Berenzweig, a former nurse for Dr. Watts who was also his patient, agreed.
"He gave patients all of the time they needed ... for whatever ailed them," Berenzweig said. "He was just the most compassionate, professional, caring person."
Dr. Watts was a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. He served as a captain in the Air Force, then completed his residency, also at Baylor College of Medicine.
Survivors include his wife, Linda Watts; a daughter, Meredith Dorris of Fort Worth; a son, Brooke Watts of Fort Worth; a brother, David Watts of Grapevine; and one grandson.
5 p.m. Monday at University Christian Church.