Rosemary Watson Leonard, 85, of Irving, Texas, passed away at her home in Irving on July 30, 2012, surrounded by her beloved cats and mementos. She succeeded in her goal of always being at home and independent.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25, at Davis-Morris Funeral Home on Center Avenue, within a block of her childhood home.
She was born Oct. 5, 1926, to Walter Weakley Watson and Kathlyn Collins Holmes. She lost her mother the next day. Despite this tragedy, she always felt she was nonetheless fortunate since she grew up with the love and support of multiple parents – her beloved grandparents, Lee Watson and Mary Weakley Watson and, of course, her father Walter Watson and her wonderful new mother, Edith Snyder Watson. They all took part in raising her.
She was part of the extended Watson/Snyder clan that has always been part of Brownwood. Her great-grandfather was J.C. Weakley, a Civil War veteran, bugler and musician, eighth Indiana Volunteer Cavalry, and an early mayor of Brownwood. Her grandfather was Lee Watson, and together they became the co-founders of one of Brownwood’s institutions since 1876, Weakley-Watson Hardware.
After an active and happy childhood of dance, gymnastics and even working and performing for the USO at Camp Bowie during the war, she attended the University of Texas at Austin and received her teaching certificate and Bachelor of Science Degree. She then entered into a career of more than 40 years of teaching in such diverse places as Corpus Christi, New Braunfels, Austin and Irving. In her early years she taught physical education, and later, as a lifelong battle with arthritis advanced, she switched to American History.
In 1950, she was married to A.B. Leonard. They had one child, Walter Watson Leonard, born in 1952. Divorcing in 1962, she took on the challenge of making their way on a teacher’s salary. She succeeded brilliantly, providing a wonderful home and seeing her son through law school at her beloved university. Incidentally, she also found time and determination to attend Howard Payne and was awarded a Master’s Degree in History (with Highest Honors) in 1966.
After this, she began teaching American History in Irving . She was head of the history department long before her retirement in 1986 (reluctant to leave special friends and colleagues, she then worked as a substitute at her beloved school for almost 10 more years).
In retirement she took delight in caring for her cats and garden, reading her favorite authors, and being an unfailing source of light and kindness to all who knew her.
She was irreplaceable.
She is survived by her son, Walter Watson Leonard of Fort Worth (named after her father and brother); sister, Kay Watson Holiday of Florida; and brother, Walter Watson of California. She is also survived by the entire Watson/Snyder clan of Brownwood (and far flung corners of the world) whom she loved. We will always miss her.