Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Susan Simpson Watts

Susan Simpson Watts. Courtesy photo.

Susan Simpson Watts passed away peacefully in the early morning of May 19, 2017, in Napa, Calif., at the age of 74. She is survived by her daughter, Kristin; her brother, David; and her beloved dogs, Hopper and Bumble.

She was born in Cheyenne Wells, Colorado, in the spring of 1943. Her father gave up practicing law for farming and eventually the family settled on a small ranch in the hills above town. Her father ran the ranch, while her mother was the proprietor of a curio shop in nearby Kit Carson.

Susan attended elementary school in Cheyenne Wells and loved walking in the hills and fields around the ranch. She and her baby brother would often spend the summers on their grandparent’s farm visiting with cousins.

Susan moved to San Francisco where she attended the Convent of the Sacred Heart High School and graduated in 1961. She made lasting friendships at school and often recalled happy memories of that time.

She met her first husband, Bryan, during Fleet Week in San Francisco and they were married in 1963. Their daughter, Kristin, was born in November of 1964 while they were stationed in Kittery, Maine.

The small family moved around for the first five years from Maine to California, to Hawaii and then to Connecticut. They purchased their first family home in Uncasville, Connecticut, where they lived for the next 7 years.

Susan was a talented artist, though she wouldn’t think so. She learned to paint with a palette knife while living in Oahu and painted the beautiful seascape that hung in the family home for many years.

She loved re-painting a room or antiquing a dresser. She once said that her favorite pastime as a young child was redecorating her doll house. I often thought that if she had missed her calling as a social worker, she would have loved studying interior design.

Susan went back to school and graduated with honors and a bachelor’s degree in social work from Mohegan Community College in Connecticut. She became a dedicated, compassionate social worker and worked for the Department of Children and Youth Services in the state of Connecticut for more than 20 years.

In 1979, she and her second husband John bought a house in Norwich, Connecticut. Susan had been working as a social worker for a several years. This was a new field of work and the state was still trying to figure out the best way to protect children and families.

In the beginning, social workers worked in their own neighborhoods. That changed quickly as people realized that confronting child abuse in your own neighborhood was a bad idea for everyone.

The work was challenging and could be dangerous. One day a dog pushed its way through the screen door of a client’s home and ripped her jacket. There were times when she had to ask the police for support.

She believed that in her line of work it was important to remember that we all shared the common thread of humanity. She cared deeply about people and felt that every person deserved to be treated with respect and dignity.

Susan retired as the supervisor of her unit. Notes from coworkers written at her retirement party thanked her for her compassion as a supervisor and as a social worker. Many said they would miss her sense of humor.

A few years later she chose to dissolve her second marriage and moved back to California where she reconnected with family and friends. Susan fell in love with the rural beauty of Lake County and settled there in 2002.

Susan held a deep faith in God. and her love for the Mother Mary helped her through the most difficult times in her life. She was a member of the Women’s Bible Study Group in Hidden Valley Lake for 15 years, and the Ladies Altar Society at St. Joseph’s Church in Middletown for more than 10 years.

She was an active volunteer in her community. Even though she had retired from social work, she never really strayed from that path. She volunteered for the Rural Food Project and Spirit of the Season. She worked for Catholic Charities for a short period of time. She also volunteered for Hospice Services of Lake County.

She loved animals and was a regular contributor to the SPCA and local animal shelters. Her dogs Hopper and Bumble were a great source of joy and comfort.

Susan was easy to talk with and had a wonderful sense of humor. She had a knack for listening with interest to just about anything. She loved getting together with family and friends for a game of cards or Trivial Pursuit. She had an infectious laugh and was known for her ability to turn a mishap into a remarkably funny story.

Her memorial service will be held at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Middletown on July 18. The memorial service will begin at 11 a.m. and will be followed by a celebration of life at the Middletown Event Center.

In lieu of flowers, tax-deductible donations may be given to Spirit of the Season or Wine Country Animal Lovers.

Donations for Spirit of the Season can be mailed to P. O. Box 1468, Middletown, CA 95461. The monies donated will go directly toward helping local families in need.

To donate to Wine Country Animal Lovers, send checks to: WCAL, P.O. Box 3, Calistoga, CA 94515.

Bumble has recently been adopted. If you write, “in support of Hopper” on the donation check, the money will go directly to help Susan's dog Hopper.

For more information, please visit her memorial site,
26 Jul 2017;
07:30AM - 05:30PM
Preschool Summer Program
26 Jul 2017;
06:00PM - 08:00PM
Rock of Faith Church Bible study
27 Jul 2017;
07:30AM - 05:30PM
Preschool Summer Program
27 Jul 2017;
06:00PM -
Clearlake City Council
28 Jul 2017;
07:30AM - 05:30PM
Preschool Summer Program
28 Jul 2017;
10:00AM - 02:00PM
American Red Cross Volunteer Recruitment Fair
29 Jul 2017;
08:00AM - 10:00AM
Learn to Row -Clear Lake Scullers
29 Jul 2017;
08:00AM - 12:00PM
Land Trust guided walk
29 Jul 2017;
10:00AM - 04:00PM
Path to Citizenship Day
30 Jul 2017;
10:00AM - 01:00PM
Rock of Faith Church
July 2017
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Responsible local journalism on the shores of Clear Lake.





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