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University Celebrates Dr. W.G. Watson’s 100th Birthday
Obstetrician Has Delivered More than 15,000 Babies
AUGUSTA, GA. (Feb. 25, 2010) Nearly 700 friends, family and former patients came together today to help celebrate Dr. W.G. Watson’s 100th birthday.
The celebration was held on University Hospital’s front lawn and honored Dr. Watson, the namesake of University Hospital’s W.G. Watson, M.D., Women’s Center, and one of the oldest practicing physicians in the country.
Dr. Watson remains a driving force within the Women’s Center, where he has served as chief of the hospital’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology since 1987. But more than that, Dr. Watson is a testament to the miracle of childbirth, having delivered more than 15,000 babies before giving up his obstetrical practice at age 85. Dr. Watson continues to care for gynecological patients through his office practice with Obstetrics and Gynecology Associates of Augusta.
“We are here today to celebrate a truly amazing life,” said Marilyn Bowcutt, vice president for Patient Care Services, during the celebration. “We are honored and grateful for his many years of dedicated service to the Augusta area and to University Hospital.”
During the event, Dr. Watson was presented proclamations from Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver and North Augusta Mayor Lark Jones. He was also honored by Mike Rogers, Alumni Association Executive Director of The Citadel, where Dr. Watson is recognized as the military college’s oldest graduate.
Additionally, Dr. Watson received notes of commendation from:
- Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue
- South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford
- United States Senators Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss from Georgia
- United States Senators Lindsay Graham and Jim DeMint from South Carolina
- United States Representative John Barrow from Georgia
- United States Representative Gresham Barrett from South Carolina
Ms. Bowcutt also noted the more than 300 contributions made by the community to The W.G. “Curly” Watson, M.D., Education Endowment, and Dr. Watson was presented a check for $25,000 during his birthday celebration. Dr. Watson’s endowment supports nursing continuing education, community-focused education programs for women, obstetric lectureships and related programs.
About Dr. W.G. Watson: One of three children, this only son of a farmer/postmaster and school teacher was born in 1910 in Trenton, South Carolina. As a young man, he milked cows, plowed fields and studied agriculture under former Senator Strom Thurmond, then a teacher. After high school, Dr. Watson attended the Citadel, where he played football and excelled academically. Unable to find work during the Great Depression, he spent a year working his father’s 700-acre farm. “I came up in hard times,” he says, “but I’m thankful for it.”
At the age of just 22, Dr. Watson became principal and football coach at Edgefield High School. He worked as an educator for seven years, saving the money to attend medical school. After serving as a U.S. Army physician during World War II, Dr. Watson came to Augusta and joined the medical practice established by the late J.W. Thurmond, M.D.
During the more than 60 years Dr. Watson has practiced at University Hospital, he has ushered more than 15,000 babies into the world, including two of his physician partners. “I can’t go anywhere without two or three people coming up and telling me I delivered them,” he says.
For many years, Dr. Watson also served as physician for the North Augusta High School football team. “I tried to attend all the games, but if I couldn’t and a player got injured they just brought him up to the maternity floor for treatment,” he says. For this service, Dr. Watson was one of the first inductees into the North Augusta Sports Hall of Fame.
Dr. Watson’s family includes the five children he and his wife Audrey, a former nurse at University Hospital, raised as well as a brigade of grandchildren and great grandchildren who call him Papa Doc. To them he has bequeathed his homespun philosophy in the form of Papa Doc’s Creed: Always do your best. Never give up. Room is at the top. Be a lady. Be a gentleman.