On April 3, 2017, in Boise, Idaho, Inez Watson peacefully and faithfully shed her mortal bonds and joined her loving Savior in heaven. She believed that her late husband, Wilfred (Wilf), also waited for her there, and she often insisted that he was losing patience, having been separated from her since his death in 1983.
Inez enjoyed telling the story of her birth during a terrible snowstorm on a farm near Elliot, North Dakota, on March 16, 1923. Her parents, Olgar (Oak) and Elizabeth Stram, had summoned the doctor, but his journey to the farm in a horse and buggy was hampered by the deep snow that had accumulated. When he finally arrived, Oak had already delivered his beautiful new baby daughter, and the doctor stated that he could not have done a better job himself!
She grew up poor in material wealth on that farm during the Depression years, but she often remarked that she had a great childhood, abundantly filled with the love and joy of family and community. Life is never perfect, however, and one of her first experiences in the one-room schoolhouse she attended was quite traumatic, as one of the older boys chased after her with a snake. That ruffian eventually matured into a fine man, and as her husband he worshiped the ground she walked on.
Married on December 15, 1941, Inez settled into life as a farmer’s wife. The young couple soon purchased their own farm near Fort Ransom, North Dakota, in the beautiful Sheyenne River Valley. Three children, Kenneth, Wade, and Roberta, were born during these early years. They lived their dream on this farm, joyfully working side-by-side while raising their family, but Wilf’s poor health forced them to sell the farm and move to Lisbon, North Dakota, in 1954. Wilf worked as a bookkeeper as Inez nurtured her children, whose number had grown to four with the birth of Todd. Wilf accepted a position with Massey-Ferguson in Crookston, Minnesota, in 1959, and as his career with that firm progressed, the family relocated to Fargo, North Dakota, where daughter Jill was born. He was subsequently transferred to Pocatello, Idaho, and Miami, Florida, before retiring in 1979.
Inez and Wilf then moved with Jill to Bainbridge Island, Washington, where Wade and his family already lived. Wilf and Inez built a lovely new home on Old Mill Road with enough room to enjoy their passion for gardening. Tragically, Wilf developed lung cancer and passed away within a few short years. Inez continued living on Bainbridge Island until 2013, when she moved to Boise, Idaho, where her daughter Roberta resides.
Though diminutive in stature, Inez could fill any room with her personality. She was an energetic, talented, and creative woman, well-known for her sewing, cooking, and gardening. Her taste in home decorating and clothing was impeccable. Many a smile appeared on the faces of Bainbridge Island and Boise residents when they saw Inez and her adorable little dog, SuLin, out for their daily walks. However, her life mainly focused on her faith, family, and friends. She commented that “in all our moves, it was not easy leaving family and friends, but each move was a rewarding experience with new people enriching our lives. Finding a church home, where the family could worship, serve, and live our faith, was always a priority.”
Inez was preceded in death by her husband, her parents, her sister Rachel Kempel, and her brother, Harold Stram. She is survived by her sister Esther Moellenkamp; daughters Roberta Chilcote (Richard) and Jill Burch (Andrew); sons Ken Watson (Yvonne), Wade Watson (Karen), and Todd Watson (Marlys); 10 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held on April 28, 2017, at Bethany Lutheran Church, Bainbridge Island, Washington, at 11AM. A second memorial service will be held at Redeemer Lutheran Church, Boise, Idaho, on June 3, 2017, at 2PM.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Bethany Lutheran Church Memorial Fund, Bainbridge Island, Washington, or the Redeemer Lutheran Church Memorial Fund, Boise, Idaho.