Music 10
Official Obituary of

James Will "River" Watson

May 18, 1990 ~ February 15, 2024 (age 33) 33 Years Old

James Watson Obituary

James Will Watson “River James”, 33, of Westfield, passed away February 15, 2024. He was born in Dallas, TX on May 18, 1990, to James Barton Watson and Wanda Jean Darling.

Will grew up on a farm in Wills Point, TX where he enjoyed riding horses and other outdoor activities. He was a graduate of Wills Point High School.

At age 5, Will became a huge Elvis fan and began singing every day.  He loved to entertain people and make them laugh. His uncle Dave heard him singing, gave him a guitar and began teaching him to play.  He had discovered his wonderful gift, his love for music, and became a talented singer, songwriter, and musician.

When Will was in his twenties, he worked as a ranch hand on exotic wildlife ranches in central TX.  He would play and sing at campfires, barbecues, and the local honkytonk. Will also enjoyed motorcycles and road trips through the countryside. Will fell in love, they had a beautiful daughter together and moved to Missouri. Unfortunately, after several years, the relationship didn't work out and he looked for a new start in life. Dear family friends in Indiana offered their home to him. Not sure whether to return to Texas or venture to Indiana, he flipped a coin and ended up in Indiana. Will loved Indiana and quickly made new friends. His music interests blossomed with their support.

In March of 2022, Will was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor.  Fervently, he fought to overcome this, with the support of his family, and the wonderful, loving, and caring friends here in central IN. Will focused on his health, worked out, worked a few day jobs, wrote many songs based on his own real-life stories (and got them properly copyrighted). Will continued performing, joining other great artists and dear friends on any stage possible… it was his dream to be a country music star!

The earthly battle for Will ended as a second tumor overtook him. He received the best care possible; however, he knew the end was near. We mourn his passing, but we celebrate the mark he has left on us and more importantly, we celebrate his victory over death. He established a strong faith during the past few years, which was easily recognizable by how he treated everyone whom he encountered. He was sincerely polite, thoughtful, kind, and acknowledged his love for the Lord’s amazing gift of grace and forgiveness.

Will was a member of the Mayflower Society. 

Will was preceded in death by his father, James (Bill) Watson; paternal grandfather, William Watson; maternal grandparents, Carol Darling and Don Darling.

Survivors include his mother, Wanda Darling (Matt Wilkins); brother, Philip Watson (Katherine Watson); daughter, Evalyn Jean Watson; grandmother, Betty Watson; and many aunts, uncles and cousins.

A Celebration of Life for family and friends will be hosted by close friends Friday, February 23, 2024 from 3pm till 6pm. Please text 469-474-6232 for information.

There will also be a service in TX with the date to be determined.

In memory of Will “River”, on line contributions may be given to the National Brain Tumor Society -  or mailed to National Brain Tumor Society-Research, 55 Chapel Street, Ste 006, Newton, MA  02458.

Bussell Family Funerals is privileged to assist the family in arrangements.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of James Will "River" Watson, please visit our floral store.

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Celebration of Life Open House
February 23, 2024

3:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Please text 469-474-6232 for information.

, IN


National Brain Tumor Society
55 Chapel Street, Suite 006, Newton MA 02458


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