Thomas Watson, Wash. Newspaper Adman, Dies

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By: E&P Staff

Thomas Watson, who died at his home in Spokane Washington April 14 at age 75, “”just had the personality to sell [newspapers],”” according to his son Robert Watson.

The elder Watson began selling ads for the Yellow Pages as a young man and soon switched to the Yakima Herald in Yakima Washington. In the late ’60s he moved to the Daily Idahonian in Moscow, Idaho, (now the Daily News), where he was an advertising director for 20 years.

“”Everybody loved him,”” says Robert, who also went into newspaper ad sales, at one point for paper competing with his fathers. He jokes about the dilemma of trying to get past potential customer’s comments that “”we sure loved your dad,”” to making a sale; but mostly he recognizes that his father’s wide-ranging connections in the business opened doors for him.

Thomas Watson, also a past president of the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association, left newspapers in the late ’80s, going on to work in real estate and for the Holiday Retirement Corporation as a district manager with his wife Charlotte.

“”He always told me he wanted to get out of the business before computers became a mainstay,”” says Robert, who remembers his father taking him to the paper to have his name cast in lead.

“”I remember as a young kid I went to him and said, if you can sell, I can sell,”” he recalls. Robert entered the newspaper business in 1974 and now sells for the TriCity Herald in Mid-Columbia, Washington.

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