My grandfather, Thad J. Watson, Sr., died the August before my father’s birth in a bombing run over Czechoslovakia during World War II. His plane was shot down. Only one crew member escaped.
My grandmother, Stella (a.k.a. Nanny), remarried two years later to Ned Burrell, or Papa Ned as we kids called him. He was a good man, and a good father to my grandmother’s children by both her husbands. My father has told me many stories about Papa Ned that make me grateful to have known him, if only for a short time.
While I don’t want to wish away Papa Ned and the integral role he played in our family, it would have been nice to know Daddy Thad, too. From all accounts, he was a good man, kind and well-liked. Steady and dependable with a warm sense of humor. But these are all second-hand reports of his character, taken from his siblings and people who knew him, and the few stories of him that have been passed down in our own line. Meeting him, knowing him, would have been grand.
Thad Sr. and Jr.