Laura F. Ray Watts, 94, of Four Seasons Retirement Center in Columbus, went to her heavenly home Thursday, May 11, 2017.
Born Jan. 24, 1923, in the Hurricane community in Johnson County, she was the third daughter of Neva Henderson Ray and Harry Ray, both of whom preceded her in death.
As a youth, Laura was active in 4-H, representing Johnson County in the 1938 state dress revue, 1939 state Junior Leader training camp and 1940 roundup and Indiana State Fair Girls School. She was named Johnson County’s “Number One 4-H Girl” in 1941 and attended National 4-H Club Congress. She also was involved in the American National Junior Red Cross, attending its 1940 national convention in Washington, D.C.
After graduating from Greenwood High School in 1941, Laura attended Purdue University in West Lafayette, living at Antigonish Cooperative House and studying home economics. At Purdue, she met Stanley W. Watts, who graduated in 1942 and began active duty in the U.S. Navy.
On April 23, 1943, at Greenwood Presbyterian Church, Stan and Laura were married, beginning their 66 years of life together. Laura traveled with Stan during his Navy midshipman training in Yorktown, Virginia, Long Beach and Alameda, California, and Mobile, Alabama.
They raised their family in Indiana — Liberty, Scott County, Crothersville, Utica Township in Clark County, Rockport, Columbus and Brazil. They retired to Columbus in 1984 and enjoyed several years of travel in the United States and Canada, often at Thousand Trails Camping Association locations. They moved to Four Seasons Retirement Center in 2006. Stan preceded Laura in death in 2009.
Laura was an excellent seamstress and creator of beautiful crewel and embroidered handwork.
Whether for Sunday dinner after church, family holidays or church potlucks, good smells and good food came from her kitchen — pecan pie, ribbon salad, ham loaf, potato soup, oyster stew and pear preserves.
Laura was a member of Columbus First United Methodist Church and had been active in Priscilla Circle, Extension Homemakers and Columbus Antique Club. She and Stan were loyal supporters of the Purdue Boilermakers.
Laura loved watching birds, walking the beach in Englewood, Florida, and any gathering of her family and friends.
Her main roles throughout her life were always wife, mother, homemaker and family supporter. She and Stan were parents of five children, Kitty (Ken) Decker of Lafayette, Annie (Dick) Cloncs of Danville, Dave (Sandy) Watts of Columbus, Jean (Dale) Morris of Noblesville and Debbie Ross of West Chester, Ohio.
Other survivors include six grandchildren, Emalee (Bill) Havel of West Lafayette, Katie (Aaron) Bradshaw of Whitestown, Jaymie (Glenn) Smith of West Lafayette, Jennifer (Sean) Barrie of Washington, D.C., Josh (Angie) Morris of Fishers and Michael Watts of Indianapolis; 11 great-grandchildren, Will, Sam and Zach Havel, Charlotte Bradshaw, Samuel, Rachel, Rebecca and Abigail Smith, Connor Barrie and Adler and Sage Morris; three nephews; four nieces; and a sister-in-law, Virginia Watts.
Besides her parents and husband, she was preceded in death by two sisters, Marian Rees and Ida Wright; a son-in-law, Roger Ross; a brother-in-law, Robert “Bob” Watts; and a granddaughter-in-law, Jackie Kleine Watts.
The funeral celebrating the life of Laura Watts will be at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Four Seasons Chapel in Columbus with the Rev. Howard Boles and the Rev. Phyllis Hawkins officiating. Burial will follow at Garland Brook Cemetery in Columbus.
Visitation will be from 11:30 a.m. until service time Wednesday.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made through the funeral home to Columbus First United Methodist Church, Watts Family Scholarship in the College of Health and Human Sciences at Purdue University, Hospice of South Central Indiana or Four Seasons Retirement Center.
Hathaway-Myers Chapel in Columbus handled arrangements.
Online condolences may be made at hathaway-myers.com.