Wilma M. Watson

Wilma M. Watson was born January 31, 1929, the youngest of Ray and Annie Cuddy’s seven children. She was raised on their farm in Latah County near Kendrick, Idaho.

She died August 25, 2018, at her home in Council, Idaho with a good friend by her side and her daughter nearby.

Wilma lived a busy, rich life.

It started with her big family running a farm and logging operations where she pitched in to help at an early age. She loved every minute of those productive years.

Born with a sharp mind, she graduated Kendrick High School at the age of 16 and went to college that same year. She studied teaching at Lewiston Normal School and later attended Boise Junior College. Her first teaching job was in Mullan, Idaho.

Through friends she met Duane Mathews Cox and they married July 16, 1951. While living in Richland, Duane Keith and Anna Michaelene were born. They later moved to Seattle where Naomi Shaun joined the family. By 1960 they were living on the Weiser Flat where Paul Kevin was born.

Duane and Wilma divorced and Wilma married Jack Page Watson December 15, 1962. They, too, lived on the Flat farming, running a small dairy (they loved their Jerseys) and Wilma worked for the Weiser American-Signal where her excellent command of the English language came in handy.

In 1965, Wilma revived her teaching career and the family moved to Indian Valley. She taught students in the Indian Valley two-room school for years until she moved to the Council school district, teaching elementary and junior high. During this time Wilma obtained her BS in Education from Eastern Oregon State University in La Grande, Oregon.

Jack and Wilma bought property on Hornet Creek and took to raising horses, one of their long-held passions. During this time they led the Adams County Sheriff’s Junior Posse horse club. As lifelong dancers, they participated in the Centennial Ball dancing group with the Upper Country Dancers.

Wilma left teaching in 1983 and for a time ran a restaurant in Council until she took a job in the mid-1980s with what is now called Farm Service Agency. She worked with the agency in Council and Weiser until she accepted a management position in the Teton Valley in 1995.

New to the high country of Idaho, she fell in love with the landscape and the people. She continued to live near Tetonia for years after she retired, constantly marveling at the beauty of the area. She fondly referred to it as “the East Pole” and thoroughly enjoyed exploring the natural wonders nearby and sharing it with family and friends.

Wilma moved back to Council in 2014.

Wilma was highly intelligent and passionate. She did nothing by half measures (no one could do laundry by her standards!) and threw herself into whatever occupation she tackled. She loved teaching and the children she met in her classrooms. She had a deep respect for those who worked the land, be it farming, ranching, logging or mining. She was a fierce advocate for those she served in FSA and the school district.

She was old school in that she always had a big garden, canned everything she could get her hands on, kept the gigantic freezer full, sewed, crocheted, knitted and embroidered, plus dabbled in music and oil painting.

She was an excellent cook and took great delight in feeding a big crew. She excelled in pie making and bread baking, but in truth there wasn’t a dish she couldn’t ace.

She was a good writer and put that talent to use throughout her life.

Wilma was quite the driver, burning up the roads until she sadly retired her T-Henry when her eyesight failed her.

Wilma is widely known for her storytelling and use of language known to her Irish side of the family and rural Idaho. She could certainly turn a phrase and loved nothing better than to have a sit with family and friends, drink mass amounts of coffee and tell stories long into the night. She has taken her leave of good friends and family who loved knowing her and whom she loved dearly.

Wilma is survived by her son, Keith Cox (wife Pam) in Boise; daughter Anna Means (Challis) and stepdaughter Ginger Christiansen (husband Clark of Nezperce; 11 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren; and a host of nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents, all her siblings, husband Jack, stepson Gary Watson, daughter Shaun Leonard and son Kevin Cox.

The family wishes to express a huge debt of gratitude for the competent and loving care given to Wilma by Heart n’ Home Hospice.

There will be a graveside service on Saturday, September 22, 2018 at 2 p.m. at Hornet Creek Cemetery. Reception will follow.

Services by Thomason Funeral Home, Weiser.


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