|Bail bond family matriarch turns 100
Jimmie Lois "Jim" Watson Blackman reached the century mark on Mother's Day this year. Born in a small cotton farming community in Shelby County on May 12, 1913, Jim never strayed from her native Texas, and neither did her heart. She is "Texan through and through," according to her family. During last year's terrible wild fires one of her sons called and asked if she was all right. She answered that she was and then said: "The bible says the world will be destroyed twice: once by water and once by fire, isn't that right?" When her son answered in the affirmative, she inquired further: "Do you think this is the one by fire?" When her son said: "Mama, Texas is not the whole world," Jim promptly replied: "It is to some of us!"
The Dallas Mavericks, The Texas Rangers and The Dallas Cowboys have no more loyal fan than Jim. And of all the tributes paid to her at the very large celebration of her birthday in Longview, Texas on May 18, her hands-down favorite was the football with an inscription congratulating her on being 100 and signed by the Cowboys quarterback, Tony Romo.
There were other impressive items of memorabilia, such as a personal letter from past President George W. Bush and his wife Laura, the Texas flag that flew over the Capitol on her 100th birthday sent with congratulations from Speaker Joe Strauss and a letter from Texas Governor Rick Perry. Arkansas Senator Steve Faris attended and presented her with a certificate signed by the Arkansas Governor naming her an "Arkansas Traveler."
Jim's strong work ethic and her sense of simply doing what is right whatever the circumstances, values she taught to her family, have no doubt been of some benefit to the bail bonding industry of Texas. Her daughter-in-law, Susan Watson, was for years the owner of East Texas Bail Bonds,. Her younger son, Johnny Watson, was employed for a number of years by International Fidelity Insurance Company (the country's oldest and largest commercial bail underwriter), while her oldest son, Jerry Watson, has been a bail attorney for forty five years.
Even to this day, Jim is an example of the virtues of hard honest work and helping others. A local television station just did a piece on her as she engaged in projects of sewing blankets and raising money for shoes for less financially fortunate children in her town.
One might search in vain for better words to describe Jim than those written to her by Texas Governor Rick Perry when he said: "Over the years, in times of war and peace, during difficult economic times and periods of plenty, you have experienced what many of us can only read about. You have made the Lone Star State proud."
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