Helen Betsy Elizabeth Lindblade Watson

Betsy Lindblade Watson


Betsy was born to Victor and Thelma Lindblade in Ann Arbor, Michigan, but her family, including her sister, Vicki, soon after moved to San Diego, where her father began his practice as a pediatrician. After graduating from Point Loma High School, in 1967, Betsy went to the University of California, Berkeley, earning her B.A. in 1971. Betsy attended San Francisco State University for a year of graduate school before going to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she earned her M.A. & Ph.D. in English. Betsy’s dissertation--”The Art Criticism of William Hazlitt, John Ruskin, and Walter Pater”-- combined her two loves of art and literature.

Betsy and her future husband, Robert, met in their first graduate school class at UW-Madison, agreeing later that it was fate that brought them together from opposite sides of the country since each was told by a favorite undergraduate professor that as soon as they could they absolutely had to take the professor teaching the course. After dating, Betsy and Rob learned they had been born only 10 days and 40 miles apart, confirming it was their destiny to be together. They were married on August 25, 1973, in the chapel at St. Paul’s Cathedral, San Diego.

Once they found each other, Betsy and Rob were inseparable, each becoming English professors, usually teaching at different universities, but always in the same location, with the exception of one school year when Betsy left Marquette University, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to teach at Michigan State University, while Rob stayed at Marquette. After teaching at Michigan State for five years, Betsy taught at Davenport University, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for fifteen years.

Retirement allowed Betsy to move back to her beloved San Diego in 2008 and to live within a few miles rather than half a continent from her mother and sister. In San Diego, Betsy enjoyed gardening, resumed painting, which she had put on hold while devoting herself to her career, and also took up designing and making gorgeous bead necklaces, which she loved giving away as gifts to family and friends. Retirement gave Betsy and Rob more time to travel. Adding to their previous trips to China, England, and Italy, they travelled to Spain, Buenos Aires, Paris, and, just two months ago, Hawaii. Betsy was eagerly anticipating an upcoming trip to Istanbul and Athens when she was diagnosed with brain cancer.

Betsy approached her death, which came less than a month after her diagnosis, with amazing grace and bravery. She frequently recalled, from memory, lines from poetry and other literature that she said offered her great comfort. Betsy kept thanking her husband and sister for being there for her and making this time so “easy” for her, comforting those who were trying to comfort her. She died peacefully, with her husband by her side, holding her hand.

Betsy was preceded in death by her father, Dr. Victor Lindblade, and by her mother, Thelma King Lindblade. She is survived by her husband, Robert Watson, and her sister, Vicki Lindblade.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Humane Society of West Michigan, 3077 Wilson NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49534, to which Betsy was deeply grateful for rescuing her three much-loved cats, or to another charity devoted to saving and protecting the lives of animals, such as the Human Society of the United States, the ASPCA, Hope N’ Heroes, or Operation Greyhound.


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Helen Betsy Elizabeth Lindblade Watson

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Muzette Coy

June 4, 2016

Betsy and I were classmates at PLHS. Her friendship meant a lot since I had just returned from living in Japan and did not know many people. I loved her sense of humor, her creativity and her ability to be completely honest without offending anyone. What a great lady! With deepest sympathy...

Ted Warren

August 6, 2013

I only knew Betsy as a fellow student at the University of California in 1969, a year of violence and repression. Then her favorite poet was Wallace Stevens and I thought of her as the pensive woman in "Sunday Morning."
It was a blessing that this rare and gentle spirit found in life a deep and abiding love. Thank you for a beautiful tribute to her.

Doug & Lisa Johnson

May 20, 2013

Loved Betsy's sweet smile! Love & blessings to those she touched.

Joey and Kate Valdivia

May 18, 2013

We will miss Betsy! She had a great sense of humor and quick wit. I will miss her ability to make a cute pun. Also, Betsy's big heart towards animals was clear to me when she cared for a neighbor's dog that had had an unfortunate encounter with a coyote. Betsy made sure the dog received necessary immediate attention while simultaneously reuniting pet and owner. Those rose bushes will always serve to remind of Betsy and her beauty.

May 18, 2013

We were so sorry to hear about Betsy - we pass by her roses everyday & stop and enjoy them. If there is anything we can help with please let us know. Your neighbors Rick & Lisa Lyons

Kathy Spencer

May 17, 2013

What a beautiful tribute to a special lady. Peace to all.

Nancy Bradford

May 17, 2013

I didn't know Betsy well but she was a close neighbor. We did talk several times when we would see each other in the cul-d-sac. I felt special when she gave me some of her beautiful bead necklaces. I felt drawn to her and only sorry I had not known her better. Reading her obit I see she was as special a person I thought she was.

Diana Canizalez

May 16, 2013

I will forever remember and cherish the very special moments we shared. You have a special place in my heart...and home. You will be greatly missed.

Love always!