Postal Updates

Bill McAllister

Mourning W. Marvin Watson Jr., 1924-2017

December 07, 2017 05:00 PM

  • Former U.S. Postmaster General W. Marvin Watson Jr. USPS photo.

Washington Postal Scene — By Bill McAllister

W. Marvin Watson Jr., one of the last presidentially appointed postmasters general, died Nov. 26 in Woodlands, Tex. He was 93.

Appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson, Watson was one of the president’s confidants and his former chief of staff when he was tapped to become the nation’s 61st postal chief in April 1968.

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He served in that position until Jan. 21, 1969, when Johnson’s successor, President Richard M. Nixon, named Winton M. Blount to the position.

Blount was the last presidential nominee to hold the job that, under the 1970 Postal Reorganization Act, became a position filled by the United States Postal Service’s Board of Governors.

Described by the New York Times as “one of the least known but most important men in Washington,” Watson was typical of the many political operatives who were tapped by presidents to run what was then called the United States Post Office Department.

News accounts of his death noted that in his brief tenure as postmaster general, he was known as having helped prepare the department for its 1971 transition to the U.S. Postal Service as an independent agency in the federal government.

He was also known for revising rules on the mailing of guns.