Laura F. (Ray) Watts


Laura F. (Ray) Watts, 94, of Four Seasons Health Care Center, Columbus, went to her heavenly home Thursday, May 11, 2017.

Born Jan. 24, 1923, in the Hurricane Community in Johnson County, Laura was the third daughter of Neva (Henderson) Ray and Harry Ray.

She was preceded in death by her parents and two sisters, Marian Rees and Ida Wright.

As a youth, Laura was active in 4-H, representing Johnson County in the 1938 state dress revue, 1939 State Junior Leader Training Camp, 1940 Round-Up and Indiana State Fair Girls School. She was named Johnson County’s “Number One 4-H Girl” in 1941 and attended National 4-H Club Congress. Laura was also involved in the American National Junior Red Cross, attending their 1940 national convention in Washington, D.C.

After graduating from Greenwood High School in 1941, Laura attended Purdue University in West Lafayette, living at Antigonish Cooperative House and studying home economics.

At Purdue, she met Stanley W. Watts who graduated in 1942 and began active duty in the U.S. Navy. Stan and Laura were married April 23, 1943, at the Greenwood Presbyterian Church, beginning their 66 years of life together.

Laura traveled with Stan during his Navy midshipmen’s training in Yorktown, Virginia, Long Beach and Alameda, California, and Mobile, Alabama. They raised their family in Indiana: Liberty, Scott County, Crothersville, Utica Township in Clark County, Rockport, Columbus and Brazil.

They retired to Columbus in 1984 and enjoyed several years of travel in the U.S. and Canada, often at Thousand Trails Camping Association locations. They moved to Four Seasons Retirement Center in 2006. Stan preceded Laura in death in 2009.

Laura’s main role throughout her life was always wife, mother, homemaker and family supporter.

She and Stan were parents of five children, Kitty Decker (Ken) of Lafayette,  Annie Cloncs (Dick) of Danville, Dave Watts (Sandy) of Columbus, Jean Morris (Dale) of Noblesville and Debbie Ross of West Chester, Ohio. They also have six grandchildren, Emalee Havel (Bill) of West Lafayette, Katie Bradshaw (Aaron) of Whitestown, Jaymie Smith (Glenn) of West Lafayette, Jennifer Barrie (Sean) of Washington, D.C., Josh Morris (Angie) of Fishers, Michael Watts of Indianapolis; and 11 great-grandchildren, Will, Sam and Zach Havel, Charlotte Bradshaw, Samuel, Rachel, Rebecca and Abigail Smith, Connor Barrie, and Adler and Sage Morris. She has three nephews, four nieces and one sister-in-law, Virginia Watts.

In addition to her husband and sisters, Laura was preceded in death by her son-in-law, Roger Ross, brother-in-law Robert (Bob) Watts and granddaughter-in-law, Jackie Kleine Watts.

Laura was an excellent seamstress and creator of beautiful crewel and embroidered handwork.

Whether for Sunday dinner after church, family holidays or church potlucks, good smells and good food came from her kitchen — pecan pie, ribbon salad, ham loaf, potato soup, oyster stew, pear preserves.

Laura was a member of Columbus First United Methodist Church and had been active in Priscilla Circle, Extension Homemakers and the Columbus Antique Club.

She and Stan were loyal supporters of the Purdue Boilermakers. Laura loved watching the birds, walking the beach in Englewood, Florida, and any gathering of her family and friends.

The funeral celebrating the life of Laura Watts will be at 1 p.m. Wednesday  at the Four Seasons Chapel, 1901 Taylor Road, Columbus with Revs. Howard Boles and Phyllis Hawkins officiating. Burial will follow at Garland Brook Cemetery in Columbus. The family will receive friends from 11:30 a.m. until service time at the chapel.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed through the funeral home to the Columbus First United Methodist Church, Watts Family Scholarship in the College of Health and Human Sciences at Purdue University, Hospice of South Central Indiana or Four Seasons Retirement Center.

The family will receive online condolences at

Hathaway-Myers Chapel is serving the Watts family.