G. Taylor Watson, 85

Manager at arsenal

June 01, 2007

G. Taylor Watson, a retired director of applied technology at a Philadelphia arsenal whose World War II experiences took him to both theaters of that conflict, died of prostate cancer Saturday at his home in McDaniel. He was 85.

Born in Perryville and raised in Delta, Pa., he went to work as a ballistics tester at Aberdeen Proving Ground after graduating from high school in 1939.

He joined the Navy in 1943 and was assigned to the destroyer USS Harding as a member of its bombardment group. He participated in the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944, when his ship supported the 2nd Ranger Battalion's landing on Omaha Beach.

He saw additional action in the Mediterranean before his ship was reassigned to the Pacific fleet. While stationed off Okinawa in 1945, the Harding was hit by a Japanese kamikaze plane that killed 22 crew members.

In 1976, Mr. Watson organized the first reunion of the Harding's crew, which has become an annual event. In October, he was invited to speak to the Naval Order of the United States on his wartime experiences at Normandy.

After the war, Mr. Watson returned to his job at APG in ballistics testing. In 1961, he took a position as a small-arms and ammunitions specialist at Frankford Arsenal in Philadelphia, and retired in 1974 as its director of applied technology.

Since 1974, Mr. Watson had lived on Harris Creek in McDaniel, a village in Talbot County where he enjoyed fishing, crabbing and clamming. He earned a captain's license and for many years took out fishing charters on his boat. He also bred and raised many Portuguese water dog champions at his Tywater Kennel, and was a founding member of the Mid-Atlantic Portuguese Water Dog Club.

He was a member of St Luke's United Methodist Church in St. Michaels, where services were held Wednesday.

Surviving are his wife of 52 years, the former Grace M. Kepler; a brother, James Watson, and a sister, Jean Cantler, both of Delta; and many nieces and nephews.

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