A MUCH-LOVED Wagga local, Brian Watts, 58, passed away on July 8 bringing news which has shocked those close to him.
Devoted to the Wagga RSL community, Mr Watts first joined the league on July 23,1999.
In June 2004, after leaving the army, he was elected treasurer of the Wagga sub-branch and held this title until his passing.
RSL Wagga sub-branch president Harry Edmond was devastated to hear of Mr Watts’ loss.
“I’ve known Brian for about 10 years, he was like a son to me and it really hurts at the moment,” Mr Edmond said.
“He has done so much for the sub-branch, he was such a quiet achiever.
“Brian went around and got stuff done without telling anyone.”
Mr Edmond described Mr Watts as a “wonderful fellow” and a gentlemen.
“He treated everybody the same, he had no enemies and just got a long with everybody,” he said.
“This is a big loss not only to the sub-branch but to me personally; I’m at such a loss for words at the moment.”
Mr Watts served tirelessly as treasurer for many years as well as heading many other committees within the RSL.
His dedication to the sub-branch and other ex-service organisations was immense. This was recognised by the awarding of life membership.
In 2005, he became chairman of the poppy day committee, instigating improvements in the selling and advertising, which resulted in increased fundraising. He also headed the finance, building and social committees.
In 2006 he went on the Anzac committee, and in 2007 he was elected chairman of the Anzac committee, making changes to the layout and structure – and in that same year he became chairman of property.
Between 2008-09 he was RSL Life Care custodian during the sale of the Remembrance Village to RSL Life Care in 2012.
Since 2012 he had been a member of the Wagga Anzac centenary committee and took charge in all events in Wagga connected with this centenary.
Mr Watts was very involved in the organisational side of events. He was the main organiser of all commemorative events held in Wagga, including acting as master of ceremonies, the set up of public address and the clean up of areas.
Tanya Barker, the RSL office manager and long-term friend of Mr Watts, was also very saddened to hear of his passing.
“He was one of us, such a big part of this organisation, basically a sub-branch family member, very sad to hear about this today,” Ms Barker said.
Mr Watts passed peacefully at home with his family by his side on Sunday, aged 58 years.
Those close to him say he will be remembered as a quiet achiever with a gentle soul, and a true gentlemen.
A service will be held in St John’s Anglican Church on Thursday, July 12, commencing at 2pm. Relatives, friends and ex-service personnel are invited to attend.