Leah Watkins

Obituary of Leah B. Watkins

Leah B. Watkins, 99, died in peace and comfort at The Glendale Home in Glenville, NY on August 28th, 2021. Leah was born in Pittsburgh, PA, on April 19, 1922, to Prince and Nora Lee Bessey. She shared a happy childhood with her loving brother, Edward Bessey, and after high school and two years of college, WW II erupted and she left school to work as an executive secretary at Bethlehem Steel. Her brother, a ball turret gunner in a B-17, was killed while fighting in the skies over France. She met Lee Kirk Watkins in Pittsburgh, after he returned from serving in the US Army in the Philippine Islands. They married in 1947 and had two sons: Lee Mark (Susan), of Shutesbury, MA, and Edward Gray (Vicki), of Alplaus, NY. Lee Kirk’s job as an industrial designer with General Electric Co. found the family moving from Louisville, KY to Bridgeport, CT to Chagrin Falls, OH then to Schenectady, NY, in 1967. During these years, Leah worked as a fashion model, a radio personality, a realtor and as a columnist for the Knickerbocker News. After Lee Kirk’s death in 1976, Leah went back to school and earned a BS and an MS in Speech and Hearing Science at UMass at Amherst, MA. She then worked at various health service organizations in The Capital District and beyond, until retiring in 2004, at age 82. Never one to do the expected, Leah challenged her family and those around her, to question accepted thought and to try out new ideas and to explore new ways to think and to live. She was an advocate of organic natural foods before it was recognized as a healthy lifestyle choice. Leah was a voracious reader and, in her retirement, she wrote and published a semiautobiographical novel entitled, ‘The Day After Tomorrow’. Leah deeply enjoyed the love and support of her family, especially her grandchildren, Jesse, Steven, Jenny and Halley, and was able, even during COVID, to enjoy videos of her great grandchildren, Oliver and Sonia. The family wants to thank the staff of The Glendale Home, especially Shelby and the aides and nurses on Pine Plains, for the expert care and kind attention they gave her during her extended stay there. Thanks also to Tracy, Varsha and Doug and others from Community Hospice, who do such valuable work in easing the pain of loss of our loved ones. In accordance with Leah’s wishes, there will be no memorial service. Please consider remembering her by taking a long walk in a beautiful natural setting, singing a favorite song loudly and with feeling or making a contribution to a charity of your choice.

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