WATTS BOYD ROZELL JR
1949 - 2014
Watts Boyd Rozell Jr. was born January 5, 1949, to Watts Rozell Sr. and Betty Sutt-Rozell in
Chandler, Oklahoma, in the Mileham Medical Clinic.
His father owned and operated Rozell Maytag on Main Street in Chandler and farmed seven miles north of Chandler.
He spent his formative years on the farm surrounded by the love and support of his four brothers
and two sisters, Ann Day, John Rozell, Roger Rozell, Don Rozell, Nancy Orr and Earl Wayne Rozell.
He attended Union School, one of the last remaining one-room primary school houses located six miles north of Chandler. He had a passion for science and space. As a young child he designed and launched rockets. In high school he was selected to travel to Florida to see an early space program rocket launch at Cape Canaveral.
He graduated from Chandler High School in 1967.
Attending OSU was a transformative time for Watts. As he told it, he arrived in Stillwater as a green young freshman. But it did not take him long to plunge into his new world, making lifelong friends with fellow students and professors too. Watts volunteered at Contact, a campus crisis hotline, and worked at the Kerr-Drummond cafeteria, which provided what sometimes would be his main, or only, meal of the day. His time at OSU fueled his love of learning, teaching and exploring, a path from which he never strayed.
He moved to Chicago to attend The Lutheran School of Theology where he received his Masters in Divinity. In addition to traditional theological studies he applied his interests in video photography to the development of highly regarded video productions for use in ministry. He also pursued his interest in video photography by working at a local TV station.
While in Chicago he met the love of his life, his wife, Jean Ann Baker. Having met at an "Anti-undergraduate students party," their love was sealed when he gave her a Cusinart. They shared a love for the outdoors, travel, food, wine, art, and lively discussion. They were married six months later.
They moved to Belmont, Wisconsin, where he was parish pastor to his first church, Peace Lutheran. While in Wisconsin, Watts led efforts with his church to help with the farm crisis that affected the area. Also while in Belmont the couple was blessed with the birth of Elizabeth A. Baker-Rozell. She was followed three years later by Charles W. Baker-Rozell.
The family moved to Athens, Georgia, in 1992 where he served as an interim pastor at Elberton
Lutheran Church. He was actively involved in social justice movements throughout the community.
He devoted his time to caring for his family.
In 2000 the family moved back up north to East Lansing, Michigan. Watts devoted his time to the international student population at Michigan State University, aiding with language learning, cultural assimilation and spiritual guidance. While in Michigan he was given the opportunity to travel the western world extensively. He brought back wine, stories and lots of photos.
In 2008 he was preceded in death by his beloved wife Jean. That year they had celebrated 25 years together.
In 2013 he moved back to Chandler to once again be surrounded by the love of his family and the
community. While back in his birthplace he took on a photography series he dubbed "Walking
Chandler". His award-winning photography captured the town and the community he saw around
Watts was a kind man, companionate teacher, and caring friend. His love touched so many lives and we are all saddened by his death.
Services were held Tuesday, March 25, 2014, at Friends Church in Chandler, Oklahoma.
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