Michael Craig Watson was born August 13, 1970 in Gardena, CA, to Craig “Butch” and Cathy Watson. He grew up in Willmar and attended Willmar High School graduating in 1988. Mike continued his education at Ridgewater College where he received a degree in accounting. During this time, he met the love of his life, Jennifer Hillstrom. They were united in marriage on May 8, 1993 in Spicer, MN. They were blessed with their wonderful chiildren, Elizabeth in 2004, Ethan in 2005. Mike lovingly built a home for his family on the Crow River in New London. Nothing meant more to Mike than his children and wife of 26 years. Mike was known as a driven, compassionate and enthusiastic man who always wanted the best for others and worked tirelessly to provide for his loved ones.
Mike create many lasting memories for family and friends including fishing trips, yearly vacations, and time on the water. Mike loved attending his children’s activities, including basketball, football and choir concerts.
Mike was the proud owner and CEO of Benson Laundry/Crow Chemical, where Mike thought of the employees as family. Mike was honored in 2018 by Advantage magazine for the company’s exceptional service and significant growth at the hands of his leadership.
Mike died unexpectedly Wednesday, October 30, 2019 at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar at the age of 49. He is survived by his devoted wife, Jennifer; children, Elizabeth (15) and Ethan (14); loving mother Cathy Watson, grandpa Doc, special aunt Janet Yackel (Spencer and Bryson), uncle Doug, mother-in-law Barbara Hillstrom, John and Kim (Lauren and Adam), Joe (Gabrielle), Natalie and James (Kiley and Jacob), and countless special friends. Mike was preceded in death by his father, “Butch”, grandmother Elaine, uncle Ron, and father-in-law Chuck.
Visitation will be Thursday, November 7, from 4-7 p.m. at the Harvey Anderson Funeral home in Willmar and for one hour prior to the service at church. A memorial service will be at First Covenant Church in Willmar on Friday, November 8,2019, at 2 p.m.
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