An outstanding record of public service was praised at the memorial service for lawyer, sportsman, former councillor and community driven Murray Watts.
Mr Watts, who passed away in late July aged 88, was the managing partner of WBW Solicitors from 1967 until his retirement in 1989.
He was the last member of the Watts family to work for the firm, formerly known as Woolcombe Beer Watts, following in the legal footsteps of Grandfather Francis and his father, Captain Frank Watts.
Mr Watts was a relative latecomer to the family firm, having served in the Navy for nine years immediately after World War Two.
Murray Watts, who was born in Newton Abbot in 1928, believed in being part of the community he lived and worked in, forming the WBW approach from thereon in.
During his time at the helm Woolcombe Beer Watts expanded from once office in Newton Abbot to several all over South Devon, with chairmanships or committee posts on a number of community organisations. It was that demanding workload that was recalled when more than 300 friends and colleagues joined family members at St Andrew’s Church in Ashburton to celebrate Mr Watts’ life.
Son Giles said three of the organisations his father set up are thriving more than 40 years after they were founded, which is a fitting memorial to his work.
“He was founder and president of the Newton Abbot Centre Association – now called the Courtenay Centre – he was founder member and first chairman of the Recreational Trust and he was also a founder and first secretary of the Newton Abbot Twinning association,” said Giles.
“All three orgnisations sit proud as testaments to Murray’s extraordinary tenacity and hard work on behalf of the local community.”
Michael Setter, senior partner at WBW, worked with Murray Watts during his early days at WBW and remembered him as an inspirational colleague.
“Some young lawyers he inspired – to the rest, he gave robust motivation,” said Mr Setter.
“Murray mentored a generation of young lawyers. Even now, those to whom I am referring acknowledge the grounding which Murray gave them at the start of their own careers, including knowledge and understanding not found in textbooks or now on the Internet, and a certain confidence and style. “Murray led his firm as Senior Partner for more than 20 years. He must have been doing something right, in that a number of his assistants and protégés subsequently joined him in partnership. He added: “Despite the commitment he gave to the firm and his clients, he must never have lost sight that there is more to life than grafting away at the coal face of the profession and that one’s family and one’s own goals count for much as well.”
Murray will be greatly missed by everyone who knew and loved him.
Murray Watts – 1928 – 2016