Kevin Lee Watts, age 69, of Pataskala, OH passed away September 10, 2020. He was born October 16, 1950 in Perry County to the late Joseph and Kay Watts. He spent the first eighteen years of his life growing up in Appalachia, between Crooksville and Lancaster, Ohio. He graduated from Lancaster High School in 1968. At the age of eighteen, Watts enlisted in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War era. He began his fire service career as a volunteer with Greenfield Township Fire Department and moved to Lancaster Fire Department in 1980. He served as Local Union President, Fire/EMS Instructor, Inspector and Investigator, promoting through the ranks and retiring in 2001 with the rank of Captain. Additionally, he served six years as President of the Ohio Association of Professional Fire Fighters Union (OAPFF) and as a labor negotiator, arbitrator, lobbyist, and board member of many nonprofits, as well as serving on the board of the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund.
He has been a life-long political activist, serving as campaign manager for many national, statewide and local campaigns. He was also the political director for the Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus, and has served on boards and in positions under the Celeste, Taft and Strickland Administrations. Under the Strickland Administration, he was appointed as Interim State Fire Marshal. He earned a B.S. degree in history from Antioch College, through the George Meany Labor Institute and did undergraduate work at Ohio State University. He was an accomplished author and wrote several books. He also enjoyed Western Horseback Riding and competed in several cutting events.
Survivors include his loving wife of 48 years, Andrea Watts; daughter, Kara Leslie (Brad Sells) Watts; son, Kevin Joseph “KJ” (Maureen Kocot) Watts; grandchildren, Ava, Evan, Elsa, Kennedy, Karenna, Kalissa, Konnoly, Katlyne, Kallob, Morgan and Colin; two brothers, Chuck (Heidi) Watts and Jeff (Monica) Watts; lifelong friend, Roy Youst; numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. A celebration of life will be held at a later date. Arrangements by DWAYNE R. SPENCE FUNERAL HOME, Pickerington, OH. Donations may be made in his name to the American Diabetes Association.