Mary Irene Jarrett Watson, 89, beloved wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother died on Feb. 10, 2013. She and Darrell, her husband of 66 years, had recently moved to Heritage Hills in Hendersonville, N.C., from Clermont, Ga.
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Irene was born on Willow Banks Farm in Cumberland County, Va., on Jan. 17, 1924, to Dilmus Lyle Jarrett and Lillie Payne Jarrett of Georgia. She and her brothers, D.L. and Ben, grew up in Mineral, Va., where she graduated from Louisa County High School in 1940. Irene, or "Jeri", as many friends and family called her, attended the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., for two years. She later transferred to Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va., in 1943, where she graduated in 1945 with a degree in fashion design. As a freshman at William and Mary, she met the love of her life, Darrell Watson, of Chincoteague, Va. After a four-year courtship, they married in October of 1946.
The consummate homemaker, Irene enjoyed a life lived in many and varied places. Daughter, Deborah, was born in 1950 while living in Staunton, Va. Daughter, Valerie, was born in Raleigh, N.C., in 1953. From 1954-1963, the family lived in her hometown of Mineral, Va. They then resided in Cranford, N.J., from 1963-1966, where Irene worked as a fashion consultant for Simplicity Pattern Co. in New York City. Irene especially relished the time in Toronto from 1966-1972. In 1972, she and Darrell returned to the States, to Georgia, living first in Gainesville, then Marietta and finally to the "home place" built by her grandparents in Clermont.
Throughout her life, Irene enjoyed sewing, quilting, weaving, crocheting and embroidery. Using her fashion design degree and her artistic gifts, she sewed and designed clothing for herself, her daughters, family and friends. She inspired others to join her love of creative style by teaching home economics to high schoolers, and volunteering at the Gainesville Girls Club and the Gainesville Jail as a sewing instructor. She even designed, sewed and costumed many Johnson High School theater productions for her daughter Valerie, a teacher there. A longtime member of First Presbyterian Church in Gainesville, she was active in Wonderful Works, and at Heritage Hills, she enjoyed the Sew n So group.
Mary Irene Jarrett Watson is survived by her husband, Darrell Watson, Hendersonville, N.C.; daughter, Deborah Ann Gibb, Stratford, Ontario, Canada; daughter, Valerie and son-in law, Edwin Holcombe, Hendersonville, N.C.; granddaughter, Jessica Gibb Hewitt and her husband, Chris, Milton, Ontario; grandson, Jamie Gibb, Stratford, Ontario; grandson, Samuel Noble, New York City; grandson Caleb Noble, Hendersonville, N.C.; great-granddaughter, Peyton Hewitt, Milton, Ontario; and great-grandson, Parker Hewitt Milton, Ontario.
Visitation for the Watson family will be Wednesday, Feb. 13 from 2-4 p.m. at Thos. Shepherd and Son Funeral Directors on Church Street.
A memorial service will be held at Mills River Presbyterian Church in Mills River, N.C., on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Eagle Ranch Children's Home, P.O. Box 7200, Chestnut Mountain, GA 30502.
An online register book is available for family and friends by visiting www.thosshepherd.com.
Thos. Shepherd and Sons Funeral Home, Hendersonville, N.C.
Published in gainesvilletimes.com on Feb. 14, 2013