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Laura Wheeler WATT

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Laura Wheeler WATT Obituary
Laura Wheeler WATT

March 1, 1919 ~ February 14, 2013

She was a lady. In a group you would notice her: warm smile; friendly, poised, dignified bearing; hair waved and combed in place; outfit traditional but stylish, everything fresh, matching or complementary; elegant in an understated way. She always sought to look her best. She was approachable, calm, courteous, respectful, if slightly formal, and always appropriate. To friends she was caring, thoughtful and generous: birthdays, anniversaries and special occasions were unfailingly remembered with a card or call; births were greeted with flowers; deaths brought a container of delicious soup and a heartfelt note. To family she lovingly sustained relationships: faithful correspondent to those far and near; kind hostess to visitors; welcome dinner guest during travel. She observed standards: admired honesty, integrity and loyalty; regarded modesty, manners and etiquette as important; had an eye for detail, authenticity and quality; and considered propriety, gratitude and hospitality as essential. In a word, she was gracious. Daughter and granddaughter of enterprising Midwest families and Washington pioneers, Laura was born in Tacoma, Washington on March 1, 1919. Laura's brother, Edward, was born 3 1/2 years later. Laura and Edward, with their parents, Harold and Ruth Wheeler, moved to Pasadena, California, in 1925. There, Laura attended the Polytechnic School, through 9th grade, and the Westridge School, for 10th grade. When Laura was 13 years old, her father, age 48, died after a prolonged illness. As a youth, Laura competed successfully in tennis tournaments throughout the Los Angeles area, and during summers in Tacoma. Laura won the Southern California Junior Tennis Championship Girls Singles, Runner Up, 15 Years and Under, in 1934. For 11th and 12th grades, Laura attended Mt. Vernon Seminary, Washington, D.C., graduating in 1937. Two years later, Laura married Albert MacLeod of Pasadena. A daughter was born to them at the beginning of World War II. Soon after the War concluded, they were divorced, and Laura moved to Tacoma. Laura married Clyde Summerville of Seattle in 1949, and with her daughter then moved to Seattle. A son, also named Clyde, was born to the newlyweds in 1950. Clyde Summerville died of a heart attack at age 67 in 1963. During the 1950's and 1960's Laura raised her children and participated in a variety of volunteer activities including the Children's Hospital, the Garden Club of America, and the Junior League. Laura was an active member of the Seattle Tennis Club, the Seattle Golf Club, the Sunset Club, the Rainier Club and the Seattle Yacht Club. Laura was a parishioner of the Epiphany Episcopal Church. Laura married Robert Denny Watt of Seattle in 1999, one month before her 80th birthday. After 9 years of happy marriage, Robert Watt died at age 95 in 2008. During her 94 years, Laura travelled widely, circling the globe twice, by air and by sea; actively participating in sports, especially tennis and golf, including club tournaments and hitting a hole-in-one; engaging with friends over bridge, gin rummy or mahjong; and delighting in hosting and attending dinner parties. Laura led a long and spirited life. Laura died at her residence on February 14, 2013, the result of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Laura is survived by her 2 children, daughter Jessi Ruth MacLeod of Alexandria, Virginia, son, Clyde W. Summerville (Karen) of Seattle; 4 grandchildren, Ingre L. Stackhouse (Chad) of Alexandria, Virginia, Albert H. Reinhardt (Ariel) of Albany, California, Peter W. Summerville and Andrew C. Summerville, each of Seattle; and 5 great grandchildren. Memorial gifts may be contributed to the Lakeside School or to Providence Hospice of Seattle Foundation.
Published in The Seattle Times on Feb. 24, 2013
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