Spring man drills for memories
At the beginning of 1945, World War II was coming to an end. The war in Europe was all but over, and with the August bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the war ended.
President Franklin Roosevelt was inaugurated for his fourth term. The price of oil was approximately $1.05 a barrel. And Spring resident Jimmy Watson was just beginning what would become a life-long career in the oil business.
Watson, now 89, was just out of the Army. The Fort Worth-born son of a wire rope salesman, Watson was first introduced to the business by his father, who had sold wire rope for use on drilling lines. He went to work for a Louisiana-based supply firm, selling oilfield equipment for 19 years. During his time in Louisiana, he met a young woman who would become his bride of 61 years before dying in 2008. The couple had five children, and today Watson is the proud grandfather of six.
When asked about the changes he’d seen in his time in the oil industry, Watson remembered sales calls he made to the Bethlehem Shipyard in Beaumont in the early 1950s. “They were building an oil rig there,” he said. “It was called the Mister Gus, and at the time it cost $16 million. That was a lot of money at the time,” he said. “Of course, today that same rig might cost you a $116 million for all I know.” The parts he supplied at the time, regardless of price, helped set the stage for a rig that is still in operation off the Mississippi coast.
Watson eventually moved to the Houston area to take the position of vice president of sales and marketing for a local firm. “I never really understood the difference between sales and marketing,” he said with a laugh, “but I was a pretty good salesman.” He retired from that position at age 60 in 1983, and has spent his time enjoying every day to its fullest.
“I met a lot of great people,” Watson said of his time working in the oilfield supply business. “The guys in the oil fields were always really nice to me.”
Andrew Spencer is a freelance writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Name: Jimmy Watson
Community Connection: Resident of Spring
Fast Fact: Watson turned eighteen just three months before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and he enlisted in the United States Army immediately after the bombing. He spent World War II under the command of legendary Army General George Patton as part of the 13th Armored “Black Cat” Division in Europe.