Buford M. Watson, Jr.

Born January 2, 1930, in Columbia, MO
Deceased October 25, 1989, in Lawrence, KS

Married, four sons, including Mark, Philip, Brian and Brent; 10 grandchildren. Wife: G. Faye Watson, a retired travel consultant of over 26 years in Lawrence.

Master of Public Administration – University of Kansas 1956-7
Bachelor of Public Administration – University of Missouri 1954

Professional Experience:

  • City Manager of Lawrence, Kansas – 1970 to 1989
  • City Manager of Sioux City, Iowa – 1967 to 1970
  • City Manager of Muskogee, Oklahoma – 1961 to 1967
  • City Manager of Henryetta, Oklahoma – 1958 to 1961
  • Admin. Assistant of San Angelo, Texas – 1957 to 1958

Professional Development:

  • President of International City Management Association (ICMA) 1986-7
  • Vice President of ICMA Mountain-Plains Region 1983-5
  • Board Member, Public Technology, Inc.
  • Board Member, Editorial Board, American City-County Magazine
  • Past Chairman, ICMA Task Force on Form of Government
  • Member ICMA Academy for Professional Development
  • Charter Member Honorary Fraternity for Public Administration, Pi Alpha Alpha
  • Vice Chairman (1985) ICMA-NASPAA Academic Affairs Committee
  • Past Member of ICMA Conference Planning Committee
  • Past Chairman of ICMA Ethics Committee
  • Member of 8-man ICMA European Task Force (1976) studying governments in WestGermany, England and the Netherlands, a project of the Charles F Kettering Foundation.
  • Former President, Kansas Association of City Managers
  • Former President, Oklahoma City Managers Association
  • Former Vice President, Iowa City Managers Association

First Recipient (1982) of ICMA Orin Nolting International Award for fostering the exchange of innovative ideas among cities around the world, and for utilizing some of those ideas in Lawrence – bicycle paths, saw-tooth curbs, trees and flower boxes downtown, water fountain at water plant, etc.

First Recipient (1988) of Excellence in Local Government Administration Award.

Established in his honor by Kansas Assn. of City Managers
Special Award (1986) from Kansas Recreation & Parks Assn.

Buford M. Watson, Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund established at K.U. Department of Public Administration, City Manager School.Endowed fund by family and friends. Have issued 14 annual scholarship funds to young men and women who desire to pursue a graduate career in city management. All but two are presently in city government careers.

Buford M. Watson, Jr. Park was dedicated in January, 1990.

Buford M. Watson, Jr. Public Service Award established by the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce in 1990, given to a public servant in the city, county or school governments.

Assistant Excellence in Leadership Award in Memory of Buford M. Watson, Jr., established by the International City Management Association and awarded each year to a local government management professional who has made significant contributions toward excellence in leadership while serving as an assistant to the city manager, or a department head.


  • Rotary Club
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Lawrence Scottish Rite – 32nd degree
  • Plymouth Congregational Church

Comments from his wife:
Buford was highly respected by his peers for his dedication and professionalism in City Management. Dozens of young men and women have shared with his family of his influence on them to carry forth his high principles and dedication to better local government. His commitment to promote better, efficient, and honest continued excellence in this task of governing our cities in the best possible way – commission/manager form of government.

Buford’s love for the City of Lawrence and its citizens, and his vision for the future of Lawrence, will live on in his many accomplishments benefiting people for years to come. A passage from his memorial service that … as long as his memory evokes a wistful smile, he is remembered with fondness. Every time I am out and about in Lawrence, someone always reminds me of their relationship with Buf, that he was a good man and a good friend to so many. He is missed!