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Vincent H. Watson, 90, craftsman, business owner

June 19, 1919 to Jan. 28, 2010

Vincent H. Watson, a first-generation Polish- American who turned a love for craftsmanship into a custom kitchen and bath center that remains in business today, died Thursday in his Grand Island home. He was 90.

Mr. Watson was born in Buffalo and grew up in the Broadway- Fillmore neighborhood. He was an outstanding athlete in swimming and track at Emerson High School, setting a city record in the 110-yard hurdles.

He served as a petty officer first class in a Navy construction battalion during World War II, and on his return to Buffalo started a cabinetmaking business.

He opened the business on Auburn Avenue on the city’s West Side and called the company Auburn Watson.

His father, Vincent P. Zawadzki, was a cabinetmaker in his native Poland and worked with his son for many years.

Mr. Watson loved hiscraft— but not necessarily the business side, said his son Wayne, who runs the Depew business today.

“If he had a 5 o’clock appointment to meet a client,” his son recalled, “he would come out of the shop at 5:10 in a cloud of sawdust. Dealing with sales was an evil necessity to practicing his craft.”

He enjoyed taking still photos and videos, took great pride in the custom home he built on Grand Island and enjoyed keeping up the grounds.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Natalie Szymanski Watson; two sons, Wayne and Grant; a daughter, Gail; and two sisters, Dora Byron and Mary Donatelli.

A memorial service will be at 10 a. m. Saturday in the Worship Center, 4 Medford Place at Sanders Road.