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November 25, 2012

Former Times editor Peter Watson dies at 73

ROCKPORT — Peter Watson, a longtime Cape Ann and North Shore newspaperman and former editor of the Gloucester Daily Times, died this weekend after a lengthy recovery battle following surgery for a brain tumor in 2011.

Watson, who was 73, passed away Saturday morning at the Kaplan Family Hospice House in Danvers, his sons, Jared and Seth, told the Times Sunday night. Watson had been able to remain at home until just a few days before he died, they said.

Watson, who began his career with Ottaway Newspapers as a reporter for the former Beverly Times in 1963, was best known locally as editor of the Gloucester Daily Times from 1970 through 1983.

He then stepped up to become general manager of the Essex County Newspapers, a post he held from 1983 until his retirement in 2002.

He also served in a number of community roles, including throughout his retirement, when he became head of the Rockport Democratic Committee and chaired Rockport’s town Government/Bylaw Committee.

An avid sailor and runner — he was competing in a 2011 road race when he showed the first signs of his illness, Jared Watson said — Watson had also founded the youth sailing program at Rockport’s Sandy Bay Yacht Club.

He was also a founding member of the Gloucester Running Club, leading that group on a number of expeditions to the annual run up Mount Washington in New Hampshire. And he worked with officials at the Cape Ann Museum to organize an extensive 2009 photo exhibit that featured the works of the late Charles Lowe, a newsroom colleague of Watson’s throughout most of his tenure as Times editor.

Services were still pending as of Sunday night. For more on Peter Watson’s passing and reflections from those who knew him, look to more coverage online at gloucestertimes.com later today, and look to Tuesday’s print and online editions of the Gloucester Daily Times and gloucestertimes.com.

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