Elizabeth Small Watson

January 15, 1920July 28, 2018

Betty Watson passed peacefully at home on Saturday, July 28, 2018, in Fresno, CA. She was 98 years old. Betty was born to Margaret and Sidney Small on January 15, 1920, in Grosse Pointe, MI, where she grew up alongside her older sister, Peggy, and her younger brother Sidney. From the age of 13 to 18, Betty attended Dobbs Ferry School for Girls located in Dobbs Ferry, NY. She would often meet her father in New York City for weekends of fun adventures, including going to the movies and dining out. In 1936, at age 16, Betty won the Women's National Skeet Shooting Championship. She took the title away from her mother Margaret Small, who had won the event the previous five years. Betty also became a pilot in her early twenties and flew planes just off the assembly line to their new owners across the midwest. Her love of travel and exploration continued throughout her life. She traveled across the country and the globe with other family members, beginning in her youth and lasting well into her 90s. Most of her travel was done with her husband, Bud Watson, and many times they were joined by friends. Betty's primary passion in life, other than family and friends, was golf. She loved the game and the people that played it. She played from age 18 to age 87 at many different courses in her favorite places. She won the Women's Club Championship at Sunnyside Country Club in Fresno, CA, in 1980, 1982, 1983, 1984, and 1987. Betty was a longtime member of the La Feliz Guild, benefiting Valley Children's Hospital; the Fresno Garden Club; and various bridge groups. She also was passionate about the San Francisco Giants and could be seen wearing orange on Fridays. Grandchildren and great-grandchildren had a special place in Betty's, or "Nammy's" life. She celebrated the arrival of each one, and could often be found on the floor playing games with them. She even held Nammy's Summer Camp for them at her home in Pebble Beach, CA, having fun while teaching them valuable life lessons. Easter and Thanksgiving were always favorite holidays for Nammy and the grandchildren, as the whole family would gather at the "Beach House" together to celebrate, play cards, and hunt for seashells at the beach. She was a role model for her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, and each of them will cherish memories of her forever. Betty had a gift for making friends and being a friend. She had a remarkable 98 years on this earth. She will be remembered for her positive spirit, for living life to the fullest, for her beautiful smile, and for her love of family. She was cherished by many and will be missed by all. Betty, "Mom", "Nammy" is survived by her son, Andy Rowland and his wife Dianna; her daughter, Joan Watson Thomson and her husband Colin; her son, Jack Watson and his wife Barbara; as well as her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Katie Meux Thaut and her husband Eric, and their two sons, Eli and Oliver, Cambria Rowland, John Watson and his wife Veronica, and their two children, Jaiden and Nick, Blake Thomson and his wife Arianna "Yanna", Lindsay Thomson, Haley Watson, Margaret "Maggie" Rowland, and Jenny Thomson. Betty was preceded in death by her husband, Ralph "Bud" Watson, in 2003; her daughter, Elizabeth "Libby" Meux, in 2012; and her son-in-law, Peter Meux, in 2007. Betty's family would like to say a special thank you to her wonderful caregivers over the last several years, Regina Orosco, Monica Avalos, and Nancy Franco. She was fortunate to have such special people in her life that have truly become family. A Celebration of Life is being planned in the near future. Memorial donations in memory of Betty Watson may be made to Valley Children's Hospital in Madera, CA.


Elizabeth Small Watson

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