Msgr. William A. Watson, 85, of Odell, Illinois died in Pontiac, Illinois Tuesday, April 27, 2021. He was born March 9, 1936 in Pontiac, the son of Jarlath M. and Lucille M. (Johnson) Watson. He is survived by one sister, Catherine (the late Bud) Verdun of Odell; three brothers, John (Peg) Watson of Galesburg; Joe (Caroline) Watson of Bonita Springs, FL; and Jim (Linda) Watson of Moline; 16 nieces and nephews; and 51 great-nieces and nephews. Msgr. graduated from St. Paul High School in 1954. He attended St. Bede Prep Seminary in Peru, IL for two years and graduated from St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, IL in 1962. He was ordained in Peoria in June 1962 by Bishop John B. Franz. His first parish assignment was St. Joseph Catholic Church in Rock Island, IL, serving as parochial vicar under Fr. Frank Casey. In 1969 he was assigned to St. John’s Newman Center in Champaign, where he assisted Msgr. Edward Duncan until 1981. At that time he became pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle in Peoria Heights, IL. He remained pastor there until receiving his senior status in 2015. He then retired to Odell, where his wonderful journey started. Msgr. Bill Watson embodied the true measure of a priest. His commitment to people was the hallmark of his ministry. His compassion and kindness, his willingness to include each person, made a deep mark on those who knew him. His gentle leadership attracted a vibrant and flourishing community of faith at St. Thomas, where he oversaw the addition of St. Thomas School, an enlarged worship space, and a new rectory. His Irish wit and humor, and love of family and friends, will be greatly missed. Those who knew him will cherish their memories of him. Visitation was Saturday, May 1, 2021 at St. Thomas the Apostle in Peoria Heights, from 4 until 5 p.m. and 6 until 9 p.m., when a wake service was held. The rosary was prayed at 3:30 p.m., Sunday, May 2, in St. Paul Catholic Church, Odell, with additional visitation following from 4 until 9 p.m. His Funeral Mass was at 11 a.m., Monday, May 3, 2021 in St. Paul Catholic Church, Odell, with burial following in St. Paul Cemetery, Odell. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, face masks and social distancing were enforced. The Funeral Mass could be virtually viewed at 11 a.m., Monday. Arrangements have been entrusted to Watson-Thomas Funeral Home and Crematory, Galesburg. Memorials may be made in his honor to St. Paul Catholic School, St. Thomas Catholic School Scholarship Fund, or Peoria Diocese Retirement Fund for Clergy.