Obituaries » Hessie M. Gaston Watson
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February 6, 1920 - November 30, 2018
HOMER, LA: Hessie Marie Gaston Watson passed away peacefully of Alzheimer at the age of 98 on November 30, 2018 at the home of her daughter and son-in-law. She was born on February 6, 1920 in Texarkana, TX, to Harry John Gaston and Martha “Mattie” Black Gaston. Hessie’s family lived in Texarkana, AR, but soon moved to Fort Smith, AR, and then to Shreveport, LA. Hessie attended Queensboro Elementary and graduated from Fair Park High School in Shreveport. She attended Centenary College where she earned a degree in education and lettered in tennis. In the early 1960s, Hessie earned her master’s degree at Louisiana Tech University in Counseling and Guidance and over 30 graduate hours beyond that.
Hessie began her teaching career in Sarepta where she also coached tennis. She went on to teach at Byrd High School in Shreveport, Springhill High and Homer High. Hessie became the first Guidance Counselor at Homer High School. Someone must have twisted her arm a bit, as Hessie did some substitute teaching at Claiborne Academy following her retirement. She loved teaching and loved her students.
During World War II she worked as a Red Cross volunteer at Barksdale AFB and spent one summer working for the Navy Department in Washington, D.C. While working for the Red Cross, Hessie met and fell in love with an Army Air Corps officer who was later killed in action over Japan.
After the war, Hessie met and fell in love with a Homer boy – Horace Watson. Hessie and Horace were married in 1947, and Hessie sought out a teaching position in Claiborne Parish; teaching briefly at Haynesville High School, and ultimately Homer High School. Many of her former students remember her as their favorite teacher, who taught them to love math and most importantly, to love learning and to always laugh along the way.
Hessie was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Homer. She was an active member of The United Methodist Women and taught Sunday School classes well into her 90’s. Hessie also worked as a volunteer at the Homer Memorial Hospital. Hessie loved to travel and to follow her Lady Techsters. She was an avid reader and cook, infamous pound cake. Hessie was a member of the Delta Kappa Gamma Teacher’s Society and loved dancing, playing bridge, “Red Hat” events, and attending book club meetings where few others had read the book.
After losing Horace in 2008, Hessie found love again in longtime friend, Pete Pearson. The two were fixtures in the Claiborne Parish social scene until Pete’s passing and were literally “the talk of the town.”
Hessie was preceded in death by her parents, Harry J. Gaston Sr. and Martha Black Gaston, two brother, Harry John Gaston, Jr., and Thomas Gaston, and her husband, Horace Edward Watson.
She is survived by her brother, Hartley Russell Gaston and wife Carol of Virginia, daughter, Martha Lee Watson Salmon and husband Dr. Clifton Salmon, son, David Edward Watson and wife Suzanne Folts Watson, grandsons, Brandon Salmon and wife Terra and Bryan Salmon and wife Amber, five great-grandchildren, Melanie, Rowdy, Tyler, Madison, and Bella and a host of nieces and nephews.
Visitation was at Rose-Neath Funeral Home in Homer, LA, on December 3, 2018, from 5-7 p.m. A graveside service was at Arlington Cemetery for family and close friends at 9:00 a.m., Tuesday, December 4, 2018. Following the graveside service a celebration of Hessie’s life service was held at First United Methodist Church of Homer at 10:30 a.m. with Rev. Danny Baskin, Rev. Terry Willis, and Rev. Fred Wideman, officiating.
In Lieu of flowers, the family requests that Hessie be remembered with donations to the First United Methodist Church of Homer, Wesley United Methodist Church of Homer, or The Thomas Gaston and Hessie Watson Endowed Scholarship, Louisiana Tech University Foundation, PO Box 3183, Ruston, LA 71272.
Rose-Neath Funeral Home
Homer Chapel (318) 927-6110