Ex-Woodford County judge-executive dies

jhewlett@herald-leader.comOctober 23, 2009 

Dr. Franklin S. Watts, a retired Versailles dentist and former Woodford County judge-executive, died Wednesday of complications from an aneurysm at St. Joseph Hospital in Lexington. He was 88.

Dr. Watts, a Woodford County native and a 1945 graduate of the University of Louisville dental school, returned home to practice dentistry in 1947 after spending two years as a Navy lieutenant commander, a position in which he also worked on people's teeth.

He was instrumental in bringing fluoride to Woodford County's water system, and he served as president of the Kentucky Dental Association before his retirement in 1993.

He ran for county judge-executive after retiring, and was in that post from 1994 until 1999. The judge-executive job wasn't his first foray into politics. From about 1962 to 1970, he was a member and chairman of the Woodford County school board.

He was also a long-time member of the Woodford County Board of Health, and a room in the local health department is named for him.

Dr. Watts, who grew up in the Millville community, was captain of Versailles High School's basketball team and played on the school's football team before graduating in 1939. He went on to attend Transylvania College, where he also played football.

A longtime member of St. John's Episcopal Church in Versailles, Dr. Watts was a former senior warden at the church and served on several diocesan committees.

He was a charter member and past president of the Versailles Kiwanis Club. And he was in the Naval Reserve for many years.

Survivors include his wife, Jeanne F. Watts; two sons, Bill Watts and Steve Watts, both of Woodford County; three grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

Services will be at 1 p.m. Monday at St. John's Episcopal Church. Visitation will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at Blackburn & Ward Funeral Home in Versailles, and after 11 a.m. Monday at the church.

Memorial gifts are suggested to St. John's Episcopal Church or the Alzheimer's Association.

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