Benjamin Hooker Watts, 55

Benjamin Hooker Watts, 55, died Sept. 19, 2017, at Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana, Ill.

He was born on March 1, 1962, in Urbana, Ill., to Emily Stipes Watts and Robert Allan Watts. He married Judith Diane Argentieri on Oct.25, 1997, in Chicago, Ill.  They have a daughter, Olivia Argentieri Watts ,18, and a son Samuel Argentieri Watts, 16. 

Ben is survived by his wife and two children. He is also survived by his mother and brothers, Edward and Thomas, as well as numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his father.

When Ben and his brothers were growing up, the family spent summers on Lake Michigan in the old family cottage near Saugatuck. Here Ben played Little League and American Legion baseball. He also raced Snipes competitively nationally and regionally, later becoming a sailing instructor at the Saugatuck Yacht Club.

Ben graduated from Champaign Central High School and Dartmouth College and played football for both CHS and Dartmouth. He later graduated from the University of Michigan School of Law, going on to practice law with Gardner Carton & Douglas, Chicago.  He returned to Champaign to join Stipes Publishing where he was a partner in the publishing business.

Ben was a devoted and phenomenal husband, father, son, uncle, cousin and friend, who spent most of his free time with his wife and children. He was always present at his children’s various sports, music and other activities. He coached his son’s Little League teams, including Peanut, Farm and Kuhn’s in the American League, with Kuhn’s advancing to the Little League Semi-Finals at Zahnd in 2014.   

He also coached several of his son’s and daughter’s YMCA and Champaign Park District basketball teams, leading his daughter’s 7-8th Grade YMCA team to the league championship in 2013. 

And something else about him: If he wasn’t with his family or friends, or at a sporting or social event or at Stipes, you could find him in their yard, pursuing his passion for gardening and being visited by the neighborhood cats and dogs.

Ben was very active in the Champaign-Urbana community, serving both on the Crisis Nursery Board of Directors and the Alzheimer’s Association of Champaign County Board of Directors. Ben was a season ticket holder and fan of Illinois sports, as well as an avid supporter of the University of Illinois DIA, the University of Illinois Library, and a member of the University of Illinois Foundation.  In addition, Ben supported his alma mater Dartmouth and his fraternity Beta Theta Pi, where he had served as president.        

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to Crisis Nursery, Champaign, Ill., Courage Connection, Champaign, Ill. or Colorectal Cancer Research, NIH, 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD  20892.

 

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