Johnnie Kelvin Watts

Johnnie K Watts, 73, of Albuquerque, NM, passed away unexpectedly and peacefully at his home, on December 19, 2022. Born in Hartford, CT, on June 25, 1949, he was the son of the late John Watts, Sr., and Katherine Hurley. Besides his parents, John was predeceased by all of his eight siblings.

He is survived by his loving wife of fourteen years, Barbara DeSantis. Their marriage in August, 2008, welcomed and united two families who continue to celebrate holidays and milestones together in the years that followed.

John leaves a beloved son, Trevor Tiggett, a daughter-in-law, Tammy Davis, and a stepson, Dae Dae, all from Hartford, CT. He also leaves a cherished nephew, Eric Watts, Eric’s children, Ilyana and Cavalli, and a niece, Lynn Watts. In addition he is survived by Barbara’s three siblings, and his stepchild Jesse DeSantis, as well as several devoted nieces, nephews, and cousins; also he will be deeply missed by extended family members and friends from both families.

John served his country as a U. S. Marine in Vietnam. After his return to civilian life, his career choices were focused on service to others. He held administrative roles for underprivileged youth, including at Waterford Country School and DCF Juvenile Justice Program, both in CT. In retirement, he continued contributing to community projects that worked for the education and betterment of children in need.

John had a huge heart and an infectious smile. He was a kind and welcoming man, a sort of gentle giant type. John enjoyed cooking, beekeeping, backyard grilling, and road trips with the RV to camp and fish. His home was a place to find warm and generous hospitality. Whether it was a large gathering for holidays, or otherwise, John was always front and center to offer you a drink, then to freshen it up, or cook dinner and clean up, to light a warm fire on the hearth or in the chiminea. Most memorable was the smile that said, “I am glad that you’re here”. It is poignant that he lived just this way, with such a large and giving heart, until the moment it stopped beating. John will be deeply and forever missed by all who loved him.

There will be a memorial planned for the near future, with details to follow, when family, friends and others whose lives John touched can support one another in grieving their loss. As John would have preferred, they may reminisce, share stories and enjoy some good food.

“Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” ~ A.A. Miln