Local News

Family: ConAgra worker died saving a co-worker

Posted June 10, 2009

— Family members of ConAgra Foods employee Louis Junior Watson said Wednesday they were told he died while helping a co-worker try to escape.

Family remembers fallen ConAgra employee Family remembers fallen ConAgra employee

Relatives said coworkers told them Watson, 33, of Clayton, was on his way out of the plant after the 11:30 a.m. explosion on Tuesday.

Watson went back in to help the co-worker.

"He was almost out," said Richard Johnson, the family's pastor. "He went back to help her." 

When Watson went back in the building, the structure caved in on both of them, family members said.

Family members said Watson was an employee of ConAgra for 13 years and was an active member of his church. He is survived by his wife and their three teenage children.

"He was a dedicated father, a dedicated husband and a dedicated worker. He put everything he had into his job," said his wife, Terry Watson. "He just loved to help people."

Watson was also a member of the company's safety team. Terry Watson said her husband enjoyed being on the safety team and making sure the building was safe for everyone.

Watson was among the nearly 300 workers in the plant at 4851 Jones Sausage Road when the explosion occurred. Many suffered from exposure to toxic fumes from ammonia leaks and some also suffered severe burns, authorities said.

He was one of three workers to die in the explosion. The other victims were identified as Barbara McLean Spears, 43, of Dunn, and Rachel Mae Poston-Pulley, 67, of Clayton.

ConAgra officials said they would take care of medical expenses and funeral expenses. Employees also will continue to be paid for the foreseeable future, officials said.

ConAgra officials have set up a fund to help employees and their families who need extra assistance. The company is asking its 25,000 nationwide employees to contribute. ConAgra's corporate office is donating $100,000 to the fund.

Local clergy and community leaders will host a candlelight vigil for ConAgra victims at 8 p.m. Friday at Wake Baptist Grove, 302 E. Main St. in Garner. The public is invited to attend. People are encouraged to bring their own candles.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • GoLO_2010 Jun 12, 2009

    WRAL Moderators: You posted WCU Mom's post, but not mine?

    Wow, show some class!

  • wcumom Jun 11, 2009

    It's funny how THEY all say.He/She was saving someone.every single time.I think in the long run,this will be about MONEY.

  • superman67112005 Jun 11, 2009

    Remember, Jesus said......."No man hath a greater love than to lay down his own life for another"

    He will remember

  • superman67112005 Jun 11, 2009

    To the family,

    I know your heart is heavy. My condolences go to each and every one of you. My thoughts are with you all and even though it doesn't help, he died a hero saving someone else. May he rest in peace. I didn't know him, but I do know there are people in this world who do still care, who do still share and think of someone else besides themselves. He INDEED did PROVE this! My respect to him for that!

    Bless you

  • ThinkChick Jun 11, 2009

    One day this legacy of heroism and selflessness will be appreciated by his family. Right now I hope they will find comfort and the peace that passes understanding.

  • itsmyownopinion Jun 11, 2009

    I consider it my loss that I never had the privilege of meeting this NC/American hero. May God comfort and be with all those who loved him. Also, my heart goes out to all the workers and their families. For some it will be a long, hard road. :(

  • See Chart Jun 11, 2009

    My faith in humanity is restored everyday.
    I see "hero's" working all the time at my
    hospital, Bless his soul.

  • TheAdmiral Jun 11, 2009

    It is unselfishness like this that make me believe that there are angels amongst us.

    It is a sad day that a hero died. His bravery and sacrifice for another should make us all proud and humble.

  • FromClayton Jun 11, 2009

    oh that makes me so sad. Prayers to this man's family. A true hero.

  • 007KnightRider Jun 11, 2009

    What an awesome guy! My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved.