In Africa or Stanwood, Marysville woman was caregiver

Patricia Watson was known as the mother hen at Pilchuck Glass School near Stanwood.

The registrar worked with glass artists from around the world before and after they lived on campus, where they honed their craft.

Her boss, John Reed, director of campus operations, had an office next door to Watson.

“By the time students arrived, she would pretty much know them,” Reed said. “She had a good sense of humor, was very gentle, kind and open.”

Her death from unknown causes shocked the campus and Watson’s friends and family. She died at home in Marysville on Nov. 20.

Born in Seattle, she was preceded in death by her brother, Billy Samples.

Patricia Gail Watson is survived by her husband of nine years, Lash Watson; children Jacob Shannon, Rebekah Hills and Ruth Shannon; parents John and Sharon Samples; sisters Bobbi Samples and Nancy Chase; and grandchildren Kent and Sofia.

Her daughter, Rebekah Hills, said her family operated Promised Land Shelter in their Everett home when she was a child. Mothers in abusive relationships stayed there while they worked to rebuild their lives.

Her parents took a little time off from working as caregivers, but eventually were back at it.

“We moved to Eastern Washington and took a position at Bailie Memorial Youth Ranch where our home was filled with young boys who were struggling with various issues. Mom was right at home once again, forming lasting and meaningful relationships with many of the young men who spent time in our home.”

Her mother was a natural-born caregiver, Hills said. She made folks feel special, wanted and loved. Some of her favorite memories were of sitting around the piano while her mother played and sang, Hills said.

The close family moved to Dakar Academy in Senegal, West Africa.

“Mom quickly settled into her position at the front desk. There are many, many people whose lives she impacted during our years in Africa.”

Watson’s husband, Lash Watson, said they met through online social networking after both had lost at love.

“We were both looking to date,” Lash Watson said. “But we were never going to get serious again.”

In two months, they were planning their wedding.

Their first meeting was on the Edmonds ferry. They agreed to see one another, having never exchanged pictures, on the main deck.

“When I saw her, I said ‘Thank you, God,’” Watson said.

Enthralled, they were the last car to exit the ferry, he said.

She embraced his hobby — keeping snakes.

His wife sewed her own clothes; swam at the Marysville YMCA before work; wore little makeup or jewelry; loved romantic comedies; and hated idle chit-chat, gardening and shopping.

They took several nice road trips together, going from home to home of friends she made at the glass school.

At the school, she set up an ambassador program, John Reed said. For instance, if someone was coming to the school from Thailand, Patricia Watson connected the incoming student with a mentor in Thailand who had already attended classes in Stanwood.

“It made the process and getting here a lot easier,” Reed said. “It’s a very intense place. She was really a big-hearted, wonderful person.”

Kristi O’Harran: 425-339-3451, oharran@heraldnet.com.

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