St. Paul AME Church is mourning the loss of one of its most active members who was particularly eager to help young people.
Doval Emmanuel Watson, 58, was killed today when a bus he was traveling in flipped after the drive lost control. Doval and his wife, Theresa Watson, both proud alumni of Hampton University, were traveling with a group of students for an open house at their alma mater.
Jeff Nash, a spokesman for Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, confirmed that two local students were on the bus but that neither was seriously hurt. Theresa, however, was airlifted to Norfolk General Hospital, where she remains in serious condition.
The Rev. Thomas Nixon was en route to the hospital to visit Theresa when he was reached by phone. Both the Watsons were very involved in church life, he said.
Thomas was on the church's trustee board, was the president of the newly formed Church Voter League, coached the co-ed softball team, assisted with audio-visual equipment, participated in the men's step ministry, was active in Habitat for Humanity and played drums two Sundays out of the month.
"His loss is a significant loss not only to the church, but to his family and the entire community," Nixon said.
"He was the person who believed in giving whatever he did 150%. His will be hard shoes to fill."
Theresa also is active, currrently serving as president of the church's lay organization and a leader of the youth group for many years.
Three of the Watsons' four children attend Hampton.
"We don't have answers for this, but we believe it is our faith that will see us through, that will give us the strength to rally around his family and give Theresa the strength to come through this as the champion that she is," Nixon said.
Burnice Hackney, who was driving Nixon to Virginia, has served with Watson on the trustees and other church groups for many years.
"The commitment [Watson] showed is inspirational for all of us," he said. "We have to take that and try to contiunue to follow the example he left." TW