A celebration of the life of Ellen Watson, 99, will be 11 a.m. Wednesday, September 12, at the First Christian Church of Kilgore with Reverend Ron Byrd officiating. Mrs. Watson died Saturday, September 8, 2018 after a brief illness. Private burial services will be held at Lakewood Memorial Park, Henderson.
She was born October 12, 1918, to Otto and Erna Rohde. Ellen was of German descent and of the third generation born in New Braunfels. She was baptized and confirmed in the First Protestant Church of New Braunfels. Ellen was a 1936 graduate of New Braunfels High School and a 1940 graduate of TSCW, now Texas Woman's University. She recognized her true passion for teaching early in her life. Ellen taught German in New Braunfels during her summer breaks from college. She was a school teacher from 1940-1942 in Leverett's Chapel and Overton. On October 27, 1942 Ellen married Randolph Clark Watson who would go on to be President of Kilgore College. They made their home in Kilgore and joined the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in 1945 where she would utilize her teaching skills by becoming a Sunday School teacher that very year. Mrs. Watson was a substitute teacher in the Kilgore Public Schools from 1953-1967. Her passion for teaching was exemplified even more as she became the "Story Lady." For 18 years she would read to East Texas children encouraging them to read books. She was so gifted at this talent, in the 1940s she was flown to towns all over Texas to read to young learners. Her giving spirit did not stop at teaching. She helped organize the auxiliary volunteer group at Laird Hospital, where she would serve for over 35 years. She was a member of and past president of the Evergreen Garden Club, the Kilgore Women's Club, Club Au Courant, and Kilgore College Faculty Club for Wives. She held an international lifetime membership to the Beta Sigma Phi Sorority and was the 1954 First Lady of Kilgore. Mrs. Watson remained active in the First Christian Church for more than 70 years. She believed that you should live each day to its fullest. She loved flowers, her garden, making people laugh, the theater, but her family was her true love.
Ellen is survived by her son, Joe Watson and his partner Frank Trevino of New York City; two grandchildren, Ross McClure and his wife Rebekah of Austin and Julie McClure and Gabe Bigger of Austin.
She was preceded in death by her daughter, Judy Watson McClure, and her husband, Dr. Randolph C. Watson.
Memorial contributions may be made to the First Christian Church, 609 East Main Street, Kilgore, Texas or to the East Texas Treatment Center, 1200 Dudley Road, Kilgore, Texas 75662