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Bourbon Whiskey

Frank Watson Jr. dies: Memphis lawyer represented FedEx

Frank Lee Watson Jr.

Frank Lee Watson Jr. played a key role in one of the most important developments in modern Memphis.

Working alongside Fred Smith, the lawyer was instrumental in locating Smith’s innovative new delivery company — then known as Federal Express — in Memphis.

“He was Fred’s right-hand man for quite a while in the early days,” said Watson’s son, Frank Watson III, also a Memphis attorney.

Frank Lee Watson Jr., 81, died Aug. 25 of natural causes at his Midtown home.

Active until the end, he had planned a bike ride with his son in Overton Park for that day, and had scheduled a fly-fishing vacation in Yellowstone National Park for later in the year.

An influential lawyer who worked at some of Memphis’ most historic firms and represented many significant clients, Watson was a dynamic figure inside or outside of a courtroom. An obituary prepared by the family listed as survivors not just members of his immediate family but “‘Treat,’ his all-time favorite black Labrador; a few loose, unchewed cigars; a couple of ex-wives; and one teary-eyed bartender.”

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