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Mark Christopher Watte
May 14, 1952 ~ June 17, 2016 (age 64) 64 Years Old
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Mark Christopher Watte was born May 14, 1952 to George and Phyllis Watte in Los Alamitos, California. In 1909, his grandfather, Oscar, immigrated from Belgium to Southern California and farmed as a share cropper for over 50 years. Upon returning from the war, his dad, George, and uncle, Albert, moved from Long Beach to Tulare in 1958 where they purchased 560 acres to farm row crops. Mark attended St. Aloysius Elementary School, Tulare Western High School and graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 1974 with a degree in Farm Management. Mark married the love of his life, Joanne Serpa, on September 8, 1973 and that union blessed them with three daughters, Karen, Julie and Tracy. In 1984, Mark and his brother Brian took over the business and became partners in George Watte & Sons which now includes a dairy and over 3000 acres of pistachios, almonds and row crops.
Over the years, Mark immersed himself in the farming community and worked tirelessly to shine a spotlight on the current water crisis. He was the 1992 World Ag Expo Chairman, honored with his brother Brian as the 2000 Tulare Farmers of the Year, 2013 Tulare Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year and 2014 Tulare County Farm Bureau Agriculturalist of the Year. He remained actively involved in the industry through the Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District, Friant Water Authority and the California Cotton Growers and Ginners Assn. He was the current Chairman of Cotton Inc. after serving for twenty years as a director and referred to his Cotton Inc. colleagues as his second family.
In addition to his involvement in the farming industry, Mark was also a strong supporter of the local community. From 2010-2012, he served as a Tulare City Councilman and was also a member of the City of Tulare Board of Public Utilities Committee. His love for Tulare ran deep as he continuously supported youth groups, education, charitable organizations and never turned away from an auction. Mark was an advocate for many causes including the Tulare Regional Medical Center, Measure I, World Ag Expo, St. Aloysius School and the list goes on and on. He was a man of deep faith and an active parishioner of St. Aloysius Church, serving as a Sunday lector.
Mark is survived by his wife, Joanne and his three daughters and their spouses, all of Tulare; Karen and Danny Tristao; Julie and Jason Starr and Tracy and Ted Bert and his ten grandchildren that were his biggest blessings, Nicole, Adrian, Addison and Sarah Tristao; Avery, Lauren, Grace and Claire Starr and Ian and Reid Bert. In addition, he is survived by his siblings, Michelle (Ray) Noble, Brian (Patti) Watte, Eric (Maggie) Watte and Denise (Brent) Petersen; his mother in law Isabel Serpa; his extended family Mike, DeAnna, Julia and Michaelanne Pitman and numerous family and lifelong friends. Mark was preceded in death by his parents, George and Phyllis, his brother David and his father-in-law, Carl Serpa.
Visitation will be Wednesday, June 22, 2016 from 4-7 pm at Miller's Tulare Funeral Home, 151 North "H" Street, Tulare. Recitation of the Rosary and Mass of the Resurrection will be held on Thursday, June 23, 2016 at 10:30 am at St. Aloysius Catholic Church, 125 E. Pleasant Ave., Tulare with burial at North Tulare Cemetery. In lieu of flowers please make donations to: Watte/Griesbach Memorial Fund, 627 Beatrice Drive Tulare, California or the Tulare Hospital Foundation 906 North Cherry Street, Tulare, California. Arrangements are entrusted to Miller's Tulare Funeral Home.
Visitation Miller's Tulare Funeral Home Wednesday, June 22, 2016 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM 151 North H Street Tulare, California 93274
Funeral Service St. Aloysius Catholic Church Thursday, June 23, 2016 10:30 AM 125 East Pleasant Ave Tulare, California 93274
Graveside Service North Tulare Public Cemetery Thursday, June 23, 2016 4462 North J Street Tulare, California 93274