Skip Watson didn't like the word "can't."
Claude Harold Watson, known to everyone as Skip, was known for his positive nature, quick wit and never give up attitude. He was an inspiration to everyone he met.
Watson passed away on Thursday, Sept. 12. at the age of 68.
His story, the story of this man who was known for telling stories, is one of perseverance. It began on February 8, 1945 - the day he was born.
Skip's son, Kevin Watson, says he thinks people will remember his father's unending will.
"He was premature at birth, three pounds. (He was) given his rites at three days old," Kevin said.
That would be the first of many battles for Skip.
At just 3 years old, Skip was diagnosed with polio. In the 1940s, the crippling disease was still new to Lubbock doctors, so the young boy was sent to Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas.
Skip was one of three children, raised by a single mother, so he made the trips alone.
"Every summer his mom would put him on a bus or on a train. He'd (take the train) to Dallas and there would be a nurse from Scottish Rite there to pick him up," Kevin said.
Skip's will was to walk.
"(He) started with braces and crutches, and he didn't want that for what he wanted in his life," Kevin said. "Mobility became a very big defining characteristic of who he was, because he worked so hard to achieve that."
Kevin and his older sister Kelly never really thought much about their dad's limp or the scars left on his legs - it's just who he was.
But Kelly said there was something that they did notice, "He was given such a great gift of his voice."
Skip began his broadcasting career in radio. He moved over to television as an investigative reporter for KCBD in the 1970s. Then in 1980, took the reins as news director until 1993. Then he went into public relations with the Lubbock Independent School District, until he retired in 2005.
"He was able to touch people's lives in so many different ways. (His voice) made great impacts," Kelly said.
One of his greatest contributions was the creation of the U Can Share Food Drive in the winter of 1983.
"God, it was frigid cold," Kevin remembers. "That's what we did as a family. You didn't really understand what you were doing at the time, but you just knew that it was cool."
With his wife Cindy and the kids by his side, Skip used that indomitable will to help others.
The U Can Share Food Drive became a family tradition, with Cindy and Kelly bringing the boys hot cocoa and the boys collecting cans and thanking everyone who donated.
Kevin and Kelly say many of their childhood memories are from their days at the food drive.
Kevin remembered one year when an anonymous lady saw Skip's plea for food on the news and wanted to help out. She came to the drive and asked what they really needed.
"Dad told her baby food. We really needed baby food. The next thing you know she's walking out of the store followed by four carts, each was filled with baby food. She must have bought every jar they had," Kelly said.
"There's a story like that every year. People just want to be a part of something good," Kevin said.
Kevin says they learned some important life lessons by watching their father.
"I mean, what a gift," Kevin said. "I think you can lose perspective about what the holidays are about. Talk about a life's passion. Neat thing to see (the U Can Share Food Drive) grow."
So as they walked the halls of KCBD, the same ones where they spent many of their childhood years, they hope that Skip's legacy will live on, continuing to show compassion for the community and harnessing that can-do spirit to help people in need.
"We didn't use 'can't' in our house. It's real hard to, especially with an able body, to sit there and say I can't do something. It was almost offensive to him. It's just those kinds of things he left you with that hopefully continue on. Because let's face it, the world's a better place if you don't have a bunch of cant's."
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to the food bank. Donations can be made at any City Bank location in memory of Skip Watson.
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