The CBWC family is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Rev. Dr. Ronald Francis Watts on January 16, 2013 in Edmonton after a short illness. Dr. Watts was the founding Principal of the Baptist Leadership Training School (1949) and had a very significant influence on hundreds, if not thousands, of Baptist young people over the life of BLTS and, through them, all churches within the CBWC.
Ron was born in Calgary on August 21, 1918 to Avis (Greer) and Frank Watts, who worked for the RCMP. His family moved to Vancouver, where Ron attended elementary and junior high school. The family returned to Edmonton for a new RCMP posting where Ron finished high school and was confirmed in the Anglican church. His interest in amateur radio, as well as an invitation from a friend, led him to join a radio operators’ club at Macdonald Baptist Church where he was baptized, came under the mentorship of Rev. Harold Stibbards and decided to enter Christian ministry.
Ron began his pastoral studies at St. Stephen’s College, Edmonton and served as a student pastor at Shiloh Baptist and Bonnie Doon Baptist. At Bonnie Doon, Ron met his wife Fanshun who was a leader in the Christian Girls in Training. Together, they had three sons: David, Jonathan and Peter.
Ron and Fanshun moved to Hamilton, Ontario where he completed his divinity degree at McMaster University and Fanshun worked in the University Library. In 1944, they were called to serve at Calvary Baptist in Weyburn, SK, the only full-time pastorate he undertook during his career.
In 1949, Ron and Fanshun moved to Calgary to establish the Baptist Leadership Training School. In 1960, Ron received an honourary doctorate from McMaster University to honour his work founding and running BLTS. In 1971, Ron and Fanshun moved to Oakville, Ontario where Ron became the General Secretary of the Baptist Convention of Ontario and Quebec and Fanshun worked as the National Secretary of CGIT. Ron retired from the CBOQ (formerly the Baptist Convention of Ontario and Quebec) in 1984 but was active in Oakville’s Central Baptist Church and named Pastor Emeritus for the church. Ron was also the VP of a local chapter of Amnesty International.
Ron was predeceased by his parents, his loving wife Fanshun and his son, Jonathan. He is survived by his sons David and Peter (Caitlin). The family held an open house at son David’s home in Edmonton on Saturday, January 19. A memorial service will be held in Oakviille at a date and place to be announced.
Please pray for Ron’s family as they grieve his passing. We share their sadness yet also rejoice that Ron is now home with the Lord and Saviour he loved so much. We are eternally grateful for Ron’s life and ministry among us. His legacy and service to God endures. Praise be to God.