Jessie Mae Wilson-Watson was born September 13, 1931 to Emaline and
Beatrice Wilson, Sr. in Cleveland, Ohio. She was the ninth of ten children.
She received her education from John Burroughs Elementary, Kenard Jr.
High, and John Hay High School. Jessie Mae Wilson-Watson was a
chartered member of Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church and marched with
her family and other church members from Triedstone Baptist Church in
1946. She was baptized at an early age with her profession of faith in
Christ Jesus and began singing in church at the age of three. Singing was
one of her many passions along with performing numerous musicals at the
Karamu House Theater. Her role in the King and I as Tuptim afforded her
the greatest romance of her young life.
After leaving Karamu, Jessie worked as a stenographer for the Navy
Finance Center, and then became the secretary of Greater Abyssinia
Baptist Church for 38.5 years. During those years, Mrs. Watson sang for
every wedding, every funeral, did the church bulletins before computers,
and kept Rev. Caviness’ schedule organized. Jessie was a long time
member of the Sanctuary Choir and the Deborah Circle of the Missionary
She was married to John Smiley for a brief time and then George L.
Watson to which two children were born, Darlene Kay and Brent Allen.
Mrs. Watson raised her two children independently allowing both to
complete their college education. Jessie was a grandmother of 5, 2 boys
and 3 girls; they were truly a source of joy to her soul.
As her health was declining she became a resident of Eliza Bryant Village.
Initially Jessie would still attend Sanctuary Choir rehearsals every Thursday
and church services each Sunday. Jessie maintained a positive attitude
and a sense of humor during her permanent residency of Eliza Bryant
Village. Several of the staff members would jokingly refer to her as “The
Queen of Eliza Bryant”.
On Saturday March 7, 2020 Jessie departed this life going to her heavenly
home with the Lord. She was preceded in death by her parents (Emaline
and Beatrice, Sr), her siblings: Willie Adams, Napoleon, Garfield, Beatrice,
Jr, Warren, Luther, and Raymond Wilson. She leaves to cherish her
memory daughter Darlene Youngblood, son Brent Watson(Brenda);
Grandchildren: Jordan Lee, Jessica Lauren-Danielle, and Jada Lanise
Prewitt, Joshua Allen and Emelie Rose Watson of New York;
Great-granddaughters: RaMya Leeair Prewitt, Joelle McKenzie and Joi
Madison Wright; 2 sister-in-laws Dorothy and Mary Lou Wilson;
God-children Karen G. and William Adams; a host of nieces, nephews,
family, and friends.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Jessie Mae Watson, please visit our floral store.