Margaret Emily (Eaton) Watts was born in Warren, Pennsylvania on March 3, 1936, and died Aug. 21, 2019, in Tampa, Florida, where she lived for 19 years.
She graduated as valedictorian of the Class of 1954 in Warren, and from Oberlin College in 1958 with a major in music. She received a Shansi Teaching Fellowship from Oberlin to teach English in Madurai, South India for two years. She returned to Oberlin to share her experiences and then began her masters degree in teaching English in preparation for teaching in Africa, at Teachers College, Columbia University. While working as a Foreign Student Advisor in New York, she met and dated a colleague advisor from the RCA Institute, Roy Watts. She finished her masters degree at University of London, with a Postgraduate Certificate in Education, and contracted to teach English in Ghana, at a secondary school in Tema, and the Teachers Training College in Accra.
Mr. Watts, then in Nigeria, moved to Ghana to work on newly established Ghana Television. Margaret and Roy Watts married on July 24, 1965. In 1980, Margaret and the Watts children moved to Chautauqua, New York, where her parents lived, to avoid the dangerous military situation in Ghana at the time. Roy went to prepare a home in Trinidad while Margaret taught at Jamestown Community College. The family moved to Trinidad in 1982, where Margaret taught at the University of the West Indies until 1998, when Roy passed away. She then taught at Brooklyn College for two years and moved to Tampa, Florida, in the year 2000, where she led the writing program at Springfield College.
Margaret retired from Springfield in 2011. She was an exceptional educator with a rare capacity to genuinely see the potential in all her students. Her love of poetry ran very deep, and she documented much of her life through her poems. She began to write in high school, and continued for the rest of her life. She started students writing poetry as part of learning English in Ghana and began reporting the results in her Ph.D. thesis, professional journals and lectures, as early as 1977. She edited the first book of poems by women from Trinidad and Tobago ever published, and published three books of her own poems. Her poems were included in many books and journals as were more than 50 of her articles, papers and other writing.
Margaret was preceded in death by her parents Charles H. and Rachel W. Eaton, her husband, Roy Watts, and Randolph and Ann Roach, who raised Roy. She is survived by the Watts children (and their partners/spouses), Roger Ekow (Michelle Higgins), David Kwesi (Natasha Reynald), and Rachel Nana Adjoa Gyasiwa Titilayo Una (Todd Jones); her brother, Charles R. Eaton (Ann Eaton); and three Watts grandchildren, Nicholas Kobena, Kyra Ekua, and Maya Ama.
A Celebration of Life was held Oct. 19, 2019, at the St. James House of Prayer in Tampa, where donations can be made in her name.