Deborah Paige, a CDS employee of 40 years, said she met Watson when she was just 12 years old. They grew up in the same neighborhood and worked side-by-side from the beginning of her time at CDS.
“He always sang this little song ‘la-da-dee, la-da-da’ that would drive me crazy but it was him,” Paige said.
Despite his musical tendencies, Paige said Watson was always there for her.
“He was the person I could go to that could give me that motivation to try, you know, ‘it’s gonna be okay,’” Paige said.
Watson was not only supportive of his fellow co-workers but he had a tremendous impact on the students that he came in contact with every day.
“One time he was in the breakfast line and this guy asked him to take a selfie, and we had this long line and there’s all these kids getting in this selfie with Mr. Garrett,” Christen Jester, the location manager at The Beach, said.
Jester also said Garrett always thought about his co-workers.
“We all opened up first thing every morning and I guess what I remember most is he would always save the biscuits for me to do because I’m a little OCD, so he would let me lay out all the biscuits the way I liked it,” she said.
For the past several years, Watson was the first person that students would see as they walked through the doors of Rams Head Dining Hall for breakfast.
“He knew every student by name. He would greet them, ‘how’d your test go yesterday?’” Brittany Cook, the marketing manager of CDS, said.
Watson did not simply swipe a student’s One Card and move on to the next person.
“He had more than just a meal-plan conversation with them. He wanted to get to know them,” Jerod Haxton, the assistant food service director of CDS, said.
Watson’s compassionate spirit stemmed from the love he had for his family.
“He loved his family, I know that much,” Leon Dillard, a CDS cook who has known Watson since he first began working at UNC 11 years ago.
The impact that Watson had on the Carolina community is evident through his passion for UNC as a whole.
“I feel that his legend will live on through his kids,” Paige said.
Watson’s funeral will be held at Terrells Creek Missionary Baptist Church, located at 3419 Old Greensboro Road, Chapel Hill, N.C., 27516. The viewing will start at 12:30 p.m. followed by the funeral service at 1:00 p.m.