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Former Fire Chief Jerry Watts dies

Firefighters escort the body of former Tabor City Fire Department Chief Jerry Watts into Inman Ward Funeral Home Tuesday morning. (Deuce Niven, TLT)


     Former Tabor City Fire Department Chief Jerry Wayne Watts died Tuesday morning, Jan. 1, at McLeod Loris hospital, where he had been taken following a sudden illness. He was 84.

     Watts served the TCFD for 48 years, just 18 when he joined the department his father and four other men had formed in 1929. Watts was chief for nearly 28 years, resigning during the summer of 1999.

     A procession of Tabor City firefighters, with an engine and tanker, escorted Watts’ body to Inman Ward Funeral Home in Tabor City shortly after 7 a.m. Tuesday.

     Jeff Fowler, due to be sworn as Tabor City’s newest fire chief Wednesday, said he began his fire career under Watts.

     “I learned a lot from him,” Fowler said. “He was a good chief.”

     Funeral services are planned for 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 5, at Westside Baptist Church in Tabor City, visitation on Friday evening. See the complete obituary here.

     Look for more on this story in Wednesday’s Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.