Cover photo for Peter Garrett Watson's Obituary
Peter Garrett Watson Profile Photo
1954 Peter 2023

Peter Garrett Watson

December 3, 1954 — December 31, 2023


Peter was born in Cambridge, MA on December 3rd, 1954. He was the first of the four children of William and Patricia Watson.

Peter went to Phillips Exeter Academy and then to MIT where he earned a degree in civil engineering.

He went on to find his life’s work as the manager of the Fathers Sports bars in the greater Boston area. The people he worked with became a second family. 

Peter’s early loves revolved around books, animals and hockey, starting on Spy Pond, in Arlington, MA. As an adult, he loved the same things but discovered rugby, which became his lifelong passion.  He served as a player, a referee, a referee coach, a referee evaluator, and, ultimately, as the Laws Chair for the Referee and Laws Committee at USA Rugby. The countless hours he gave to the game and those that love the game enhanced the safety and professionalism of USA Rugby. He treasured the friends he made through the game he loved. 

His contributions were acknowledged in 2009 when he was selected for the Denis Shanagher Award and again in 2023 when he was inducted into the USA Rugby Hall of Fame. His family and friends joined him at his induction ceremony and are grateful to have shared this day with him.

Peter’s love for animals was evident in his relationship with his dogs. They were his trusted and faithful friends and he cared for them with the utmost attention. This included daily walks to the local dog park where Peter had a large circle of friends, or on the rugby pitch, rain or shine!

Peter died unexpectedly a couple days before the new year in his sleep. He was 69. He leaves behind his younger sisters, Sarah and Gabrielle, his younger brother, Sterling, his cousins Gray, Andrew, and Emily, his father’s widow Myra Harrison, and his former wife and lifelong friend Shelley Watson. Peter also leaves behind a large family of friends from the rugby community.

A memorial gathering with food and shared memories will be held on Saturday February 17th starting at 5:00 pm at the Copper House Tavern, 380 Winter Street, Waltham, MA. Please let us know by January 31 if you can join at  In lieu of flowers or trees, donations can be made to the New England Rugby Referees Society (NERRS) for a new fund created in Peter’s name to support training and development of referee coaches in New England and nationally, something Peter was passionate about. Please contact or send a check with "Peter Watson" in the memo line to the NERRS Treasurer at 54 Ridgefield Rd. Arlington, MA 02474. 


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