Jon was born on September 14, 1951, to Jim and Dolpha May Watson. Jon has one brother Rick, and four sisters Betty, Cheryl, Candy and Deanna.
Jon’s brothers and sister commented that Jon, in his youth, was always a high energy, positive kid looking for excitement and adventure. His mother called him “the little brown bomber” because he was always outside, running around the neighborhood. He had a great tan, and he was a fire cracker! No challenge was too big for Jon. He and his friend, David Shuff, saw plans in Popular Mechanics for building a hydroplane and they built it. They put a nice sized motor on the hydroplane and zoomed around the local slough. Jon wanted to water ski around where he lived so he, David Shuff, and his brother Rick skied on the irrigation canal pulled by their car. Skiing on the canal pulled by a car was not safe, but it was extremely exciting. When skateboarding down the hill by his house on his homemade skateboard, he decided it would be more fun if he did it balancing on top of a garbage can. Jon was a risk taker. As soon as he was old enough, summers were spent working on the Company farms; thinning plums; driving tractor and doing whatever else was needed. Jon has always been known to be a positive, high energy, industrious and fun person to be around.
Jon graduated from Parma High School, and he was the student body class President. Jon wrestled in school and was an avid snow skier. Jon waterskied in the summer at their family cabin in McCall.
Jon was involved with the family farm from an early age. Jon attended the University of Idaho and upon his graduation in 1972, he returned to work for the company in a full-time capacity.
Jon’s waterskiing brought another adventure into his life, when he met Margie waterskiing in McCall. Margie was dating Jon’s friend, but he was able to steal her away when no one else could drive the boat for waterskiing. Jon and Margie were married in 1975, and today they have two married children Brad (Faere Watson) and Emily (Colbie Libsack) and four grandchildren Jane (7) Anne (5) Harper (5) Quinnley (2)
Jon has served on many boards and Committees during his career. Jon served on the Parma City Council, and the Parma Fire Department. Jon was the acting Fire Chief for twenty years. He served on the Idaho-Oregon Fruit and Vegetable Association Board of Directors, and he was the Association President from 1982-1983. He also served on the Idaho Apple Commission from 1995-2001. Jon was elected to Idaho-E. Oregon Onion Marketing Order Committee in 1989 and he still serves on that Committee today. Jon has served for several years on the Idaho-E. Oregon Onion Promotion Committee, and still does. Jon serves on the Bruce Mitchell Foundation.
In 2009 when the U of I Parma Research Station was being considered for closure, Jon co-chaired the Treasure Valley Ag Coalition to assure that didn’t happen. With Jon’s leadership and the strength of the Coalition Committee, the station is still open and operational today.
Jon’s involvement in the community and the industry can be highlighted with his outspoken views and dedication. From being involved in the community, to industry associations, and the marketing order, Jon has dedicated himself to the industry and his community.