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Ellen Adele Watson

December 5, 1925 January 28, 2021
Ellen Adele Watson
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Obituary for Ellen Adele Watson

Stayton – Ellen Adele Watson (née Stansbery) was born to Charles K. “Charlie” Stansbery and Lois A. Stansbery (née Kirkland) on December 5, 1925, in Lander, Wyoming. She was their oldest surviving child and was followed by one sister and three brothers. For the first 9 years of her long life she lived on the ranch her parents owned near Crowheart, WY. In 1934, as a result of the Great Depression, the ranch was sold, and the family moved into Lander where they lived for 2 years. From 1936-1941 they lived in Hudson, WY, where her father worked in construction building the town power plant. Ellen attended 2 years of high school in Hudson where she had a straight “A” average and was on the Honor Roll both years. She continued that scholastic performance in Las Vegas, NV, where the family moved in 1941, graduating on the National Honor Roll and earning her second college scholarship. Her first scholarship had been won while she was still in Hudson and was an art scholarship to the Colorado Women’s College. But when the time came to apply for college, too many things had changed for her. While Ellen was still a senior in high school, she met Stanley Brooks Watson who was staying at the boarding house operated by her mother, Lois. They fell in love and, with her parent’s somewhat reluctant permission, were engaged, so all she could think of at that time was finding work and getting married. In 1942, very few students entering, or staying in, college were married so she never applied for college.               

Her parents insisted that she and Stan wait to get married until after she graduated from high school, although that meant he would have already been inducted into the Army before the wedding. They were married in the base chapel at Fort Knox, KY, on June 26, 1943, and Ellen lived and worked in Louisville, KY, until her husband was sent to France. In the meantime, her parents and siblings had moved to Eugene, OR, and in 1944, Ellen joined them there. She was living with them when she learned that Stan had been wounded on the first day of the battle of the Bulge and was on his way to Madigan General Hospital at Fort Lewis, WA. Stan was discharged from the Army on November 21, 1945, and they lived in the Eugene-Springfield area for some time, where their first 3 children were born. They both became involved in the International Woodworkers of America and were living in Oak Ridge, OR, when Stan was elected as Business Agent and Ellen was working for the union as a secretary. They left Oregon in 1854, moving first to Pomona, CA, and then to Walnut, CA, where they did very well in the booming post-Korean War construction business. The “boom” had tapered off by 1958 and the family, now with 5 children, moved to Sacramento, CA, where Stan continued to work construction and Ellen began buying, raising, and selling livestock. She said, in her memoirs, “I know that to me, it was the most fulfilling work I was ever to do”. Ellen lost her beloved Stan on November 7, 1968, when he was killed in a construction accident.               

Ellen remained in the livestock business but moved the family to Elk Grove, CA, in 1969. By 1976, she was looking for a less strenuous way to make a living and bought the Cedar Ridge Rest Home in Ft. Bragg, CA. She owned the rest home and remained in the geriatric health care business until she decided to finally “retire” and turned the business over to her two younger sons. From that time until traveling became too difficult, she visited each of her children (daughter Kathleen (Rick) Tuskes in Columbus, OH; son Charles (Celia) Watson in Stayton, OR; son Douglas Watson and daughter Jeannemarie (Chuck) Coulter in Ft. Bragg, CA; and son Wesley Watson in Sacramento, CA), in turn for several weeks at a time. She maintained her residence with Wes as her “home base”.               

She moved to Stayton, OR, in November of 2016, to stay for a time with her oldest son, Chuck, and his family. She moved to an assisted living facility in August of 2017, where she was given the same loving care that she had given so many others during her tenure as a rest home operator in California. She passed away there on January 28, 2021, at the age of 95.               

She was predeceased by her parents, Charlie and Lois; her husband Stan; her four siblings Marie (Neil) Chance, Charles “Kirk” (Patsy) Stansbery, Francis “Willard” (Betty) Stansbery, and Robert “Bob” (Nancy) Stansbery. She is survived by her 5 children; her grandchildren (Matthew Tuskes of Sacramento, CA; Linda Davit of Lithopolis, OH; Benjamin (Sally) Tuskes of Columbus, OH; Desiree Coulter of Aumsville, OR; Christopher Watson of Stayton, OR; and Robert (Elizabeth) Watson of Mill Creek, WA), and her 8 great-grandchildren.Memorial Contributions may be made in Ellen’s name to the Willamette Humane Society.

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