Jimmy Watson, age 64, passed away on March 5, 2014. He was blessed to be one of the Watson Boys and is survived by his brothers: Robert (Leila), Kenny (Kathleen) and Charlie. He had no children of his own, so gleefully took the role of beloved uncle to his nephew and nieces and their children: Ivy Watson Cardwell (Cameron) and Henry and Fredda; Ella Danielle Cooper (Brian) and Piper and Ever; Robert Akira Watson and Lili Watson. He is also survived by thousands of friends, traveling companions, and beach buddies, and his two cats, Merle and Tippi. He is preceded in death by his parents, Dan Trice and Annie Jo Watson. Twenty years ago this spring, in the corner of an old-fashioned garage on 10th Terrace South, he took a concrete saw and cut holes in the walls to connect the stalls, shaped hundreds of pounds of concrete into a solid bar, installed a giant boat cooler to ice the beer, and opened The Garage Cafe. Over the years it has won awards for Best Bar, Best Music Bar, Best Neighborhood Bar, and GQ Magazine's Ten Bars Worth Flying For. The conglomerate description of The Garage: "casual, laid-back, funky, friendly" "one-of-a-kind bar" with an "unpretentious ambiance" and "colorful characters aplenty" is also an apt description of Jimmy. He rules from the corner stool and personally greets everyone who enters, raising an eyebrow at some and beaming a smile to most. He would want us to say he is a hell-raiser, but in truth he just loved to throw a good party. He celebrated every Independence Day, Christmas, New Years Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Garage Anniversary, and a few other random occasions of the moment by inviting all his friends to the bar, firing up the smoker, and serving up homemade BBQ, great music and hijinks and friendship. Good music was a passion for Jimmy. He cultivated it - encouraging others to listen to his favorites, tap their feet, dance, sing along and support the musicians, sometimes giving a CD or a concert ticket to someone he thought deserving, or sometimes just because he wanted to improve their taste in music. His all-time favorites were Scott Boyer, David Hood, Donnie Fritts and all the other Muscle Shoals musicians who played his parties – he loved the music. Jimmy loved Grayton Beach, spending nearly as much time down there as he did at home. He loved the water and sand, the sunsets, the easy lifestyle, the gulf breeze. He always owned a variety of dingys, sailboats, ganoes and beach junk, and he loved taking a cruise across the bay and into the black waters. He had classic junky beach jeeps filled with coolers, plastic cups, beach chairs and trash bags. For his family, he created a home-away-from-home at the coast, and if his nieces and nephew were down there, he was too, because it was all for them. He was stubborn, sweet, ornery, and soft-hearted. He collected keys, porch gliders, coins, recyclables, movies, music, and anything of by-gone eras. He was generous with his time and possessions; he contributed to every conservation and animal group that reached him; he loved attending fund-raisers. He met people and invited them to his parties, his home and into his life, and total strangers became best friends. He loved and enjoyed humanity, and everyone around him could sense that. His family expresses their deepest gratitude to the UAB Critical Care Transport Team that brought him home, the UAB NICU doctors and nurses that cared for him and the UAB Palliative Care Team that eased his passing. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to the Birmingham Humane Society or the UAB NICU, c/o UAB School of Medicine Development Office, FOT 1230, 1720 Second Avenue South, BHam, AL 35294-3412; (205) 975-5602). A memorial service will be held Saturday, March 8, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. at Ridout's Valley Chapel, 1800 Oxmoor Road, Birmingham, Alabama. Online condolences may be left at RidoutsValleyChapel.com
Arrangements under the direction of Ridout's Valley Chapel, Homewood, AL.