Cover photo for Theodore "Ted" Henry Watts's Obituary
Theodore "Ted" Henry Watts Profile Photo

Theodore "Ted" Henry Watts

April 24, 1945 — October 31, 2020

Theodore "Ted" Henry Watts

Theodore Henry Watts died Saturday, October 31, 2020 at St. Vincent Hospital in Erie, PA due
to complications from COVID-19.

Ted was born on April 24, 1945 in Pittsburgh, PA to the late Leland and Fortunata (née Signore) Watts.
He graduated from Penn Hills High School and attended Waynesburg College, where he
received a Bachelor of Arts in History. In 1970, Ted graduated from Duquesne Law School and
was admitted to the Bar Association in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. From there, he was admitted before the US Court of Military Appeals and US Army Court of Military Review. Ted served with the US Army JAGC as a Captain from 1971 to 1978. Upon completion of his service with the United States Army, Ted married Shirley Barnett and relocated to Meadville, PA where he began private legal practice. He was still practicing with Watts and Pepicelli, P.C. at the time of his death. Ted was recently serving as the solicitor for Penncrest School District. He previously served as Crawford County solicitor and legal representative for the Housing
Authority and Water Authority of Meadville. In addition, Ted was the attorney for the
Redevelopment Authority, working closely with the late Victor Leap to undertake innovative
projects, such as the redevelopment of the Avtex facility. In so doing, he helped to establish
national legal precedent for "brownfields" legislation in order to safely reclaim contaminated
industrial sites.

Ted developed a passion for running in the 1970’s and had the desire to inspire other runners in Crawford County. With that, he began the French Creek Roadrunners Club, leading him to
establish and manage numerous 10k races, including the "Downtowner.” Over the course of his lifetime, Ted ran more than 40 marathons. He and long-time friend Charles Flynn volunteered legal services for maintenance and extension of the Ernst Trail in honor of their best friend Tom McNally.

In 1985, Liberty II speedboat was found and raised in Conneaut Lake by two local divers. Ted
was instrumental in the process and fundraising that supported the restoration and
preservation of the boat, including reaching an agreement to keep Liberty II in Conneaut Lake.

In the mid 1980's, he and several other local citizens organized the restoration of the Academy Theatre. He co-chaired the Academy Theatre Foundation, which raised millions of dollars for restoration and operation as a formidable live theatre venue. Ted served as president of the theatre board for many years. He also enjoyed performing in many Academy and Meadville Community Theatre productions as well as the Charity Follies.

In 1988, Ted was asked to serve on Meadville’s Bicentennial Committee where he led efforts to provide a hot air balloon rally (The Thurston Classic) as a part of the celebration. That
experience led Ted to become a hot air balloon pilot and design his first balloon, "The Legal
Eagle.” The Thurston Classic was his civic pride and he proudly served as Chairman of the
Thurston Committee until the time of his death. Additionally, he served as a safety officer and
in other official capacities for local, national and international events. Ted is a member of the
Balloon Federation of America and was the recipient of both the Spirit of Annie and Steve
Lachendro Memorial Awards presented by the Northeast Ohio Balloon Pilot’s Association. Ted
worked with a BFA blue ribbon committee during discussions with the National Transportation
Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration on the consequences of the tragic
Lockhart, Texas accident and its impact on future regulations. He was deeply involved in
crafting the official BFA position statement on the impact of potential new regulations. He has
made numerous presentations at BFA sanctioned safety seminars all over the US. A member
since 1995, Ted has served on the BFA Board of Directors, as well as its liaison to the Hot Air
Competition Division for the past four years and was recently reelected to another three-year

His love for athletics and sports extended well beyond running and ballooning. He was also a
collegiate wrestler and football player, Pittsburgh Steelers season ticket holder, coach soccer),
referee (football) and supporter of his children’s athletic endeavors.

He is survived by Shirley Watts of Meadville. Additionally, he is survived by his longtime
companion Martha Troutner of Blooming Valley; son Theodore L. Watts of Venice, CA; and
daughters Angela (Ben) Gibbons of Cresson, PA and Lisa (Greg) Laslo of Lebanon, PA;
grandchildren Caden and Sydney Gibbons of Cresson, PA, Brock Viering of Philadelphia, PA and Dalton Viering of New Cumberland, PA. He is also survived by his sister Shirley Girdano of Delmont, PA and numerous cousins.

Ted was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Leonard F. Watts, who also succumbed in
July to COVID-19; and many aunts, uncles and cousins.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to University of Pittsburgh COVID vaccine at, John Hopkins COVID research at or The
Thurston Classic, PO Box 498, Meadville. PA 16335.

Family and friends are invited to call on Friday, September 10, 2021, from 4-7 PM at STEPHEN P. MIZNER FUNERAL HOME & CREMATION SERVICES, INC., 404 CHESTNUT ST., MEADVILLE. If unvaccinated, please wear a mask.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 11 AM on Saturday, September 11, 2021, at The Academy Theatre, 275 Chestnut St., Meadville. If unvaccinated, please wear a mask.

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Past Services


Friday, September 10, 2021

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

Stephen P. Mizner Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc. - Meadville

404 Chestnut Street, Meadville, PA 16335

If unvaccinated, please wear a mask.

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Services

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

If unvaccinated, please wear a mask.

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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