Sumter, SC ……Pete Watcher passed away peacefully at his home in Sumter, SC on August 31, 2021. He was 89 years old.
Pete was born in Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania, the son of John and Mary Watcher, immigrants of Ukraine. He was raised in the coal mining “patch” village of Buck Run. Pete graduated from Cass Township High School in 1951, he was the class president, as well as captain of the football team and baseball team and lettered in baseball, football and basketball. More importantly he met his high school sweetheart, Betty Uller, who later became his wife of 59 years. Following graduation Pete worked for Reading Coal Company and Bethlehem Steel until his football coach put him in touch with a scout for the US Naval Academy. He was recruited as a student athlete to play football. He attended Bullis Preparatory School in Silver Spring, MD to prepare for the USNA entrance exams. However, his studies were interrupted when he was drafted into the US Army and sent to Ft Knox, KY for infantry training and deployment to the Korean War. Due to his brother’s intervention, he returned to MD to take the USNA entrance exams and successfully passed. Pete became a midshipman in1953 in 2nd Company and graduated Class of 1957. Upon graduation he was commissioned into the USAF. He and Betty married on June 15,1957. They were stationed at Air Force bases in Harlingen, TX; Tokyo, Japan; Waco, TX; Sacramento, CA; and Austin, TX, and Shaw AFB in Sumter, SC. He earned a Masters Degree in Business at the University of Texas while in Austin. At his last duty station, Shaw AFB, Pete trained on the Douglas Electronic Warfare EB-66C which detected and jammed enemy air defense radar. He earned the distinguished flying cross flying combat missions during three tours of duty in Vietnam. Pete and Betty had six children and were dedicated parents attending many athletic, musical, and art events over the years. He retired from the USAF 1979 with the rank of Lt Col. and began his business career. He served as president of Air Filter Service and CPS Technologies for 15 years and started another industrial distribution company, Filter Sales and Service, in1998. Pete was a member of St. Anne and St. Jude Catholic Church; he organized many golf fundraisers to support the Catholic School. He also served on the Sumter Chamber of Commerce, was a member of the Rotary Club, and a member of a retired military organization, MOAA. Pete is survived by his brother, John Watcher (Mabe) of Huntington Beach, CA; three daughters and a son Mary(David)Swain of Woodruff,SC; Ann (Richard) Blum of Charlotte , and Amy Manweiler of Simpsonville,SC; his son, Michael (Beth) Watcher of Sumter, 20 grandchildren; Kathryn (Matt) Dilleshaw, Heather (Brandon) Scarborough, Charlotte (Will) Korn, David Eric Swain, Anna (Westley) Roberts, Cara (Derek) Balcolm, Drew Watcher, Katey (Wade) Soenksen, Joseph Watcher, Jacob Watcher, Philip Watcher, Mary Bennett (Colton) Hinson, Rae Watcher, Gabrielle Blum, Jared Blum, Allison Manweiler, Alex Manweiler, Caroline Manweiler, Lindsey (David) Massey, and Kayla (Nate) Stewart and 14 great-grandchildren. Pete was predeceased by his wife, Betty in 2016, and by his sons Tony Michael Watcher in 2005 and Robert Stephen Watcher, 2016.
A Rosary Service will be held from 4:30-5:00 at Bullock Funeral Home for Catholic friends, followed by Visitation from 5-7 pm on Thursday, Sept 2. Funeral services will be held at St Anne and St Jude Catholic Church at 216 E. Liberty St, Sumter at 11:00am, Friday, Sept 3.
Pete and Betty will be interred at the US Naval Academy Columbarium.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St.Anne and St Jude Catholic Church, 216 E. Liberty Street, Sumter, SC 29150 or to the Sumter SPCA, 1140 S Guignard Drive, Sumter, SC 29150.
You may go to www.bullockfuneralhome.com and sign the family’s guest book.
The family has chosen Bullock Funeral Home for the arrangements.
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