Winifred June Watson
Walnut Creek, CA
June 4, 1918 – July 26, 2022
Winifred June “Winnie” Watson, 104, left this life on July 26 at her Rossmoor home with the same faith and grace she brought to each day. God granted her many years, yet her family and many friends wanted even more time with her.
Winnie was born on June 4,1918 in Oakland, CA to Florence and Winfred Renfree; her beloved brother Bill was born seven years later. Winnie’s roots were in Cornwall England as the Renfrees were miners who immigrated to Virginia City, Nevada. Winnie’s physical stamina and sturdiness, along with her stoicism and great tact were undoubtedly products of this legacy.
In 1937 Winnie wore high heels and walked over the newly completed Golden Gate Bridge on her first date with the love of her life, Reuel Watson. Winnie had just completed her studies at Heald School of Business and secured a secretarial job at Shell Oil’s offices when she met Reuel. Keenly intelligent, she had hoped to attend Cal and become a teacher but put that aside during the Great Depression to earn money for her family. Reuel and Winnie were quite a team and enjoyed 44 years of a loving marriage. They took pride in their vibrant daughters Diana, Beverly, and Claudia. Annual summer vacations to Yosemite with their daughters and nephew Alan brought Winnie great joy. She loved towing the family’s pop-up trailer as Reuel and his brother Elwood led the way on their motorcycles. Winnie supported Reuel in his home-building business by moving 20 times during their 44 years of marriage and truly maintained theirs as a “model home” ready to be shown at a moment’s notice.
Winnie was a kind, generous and loving matriarch – known to all as Nana. She was the “heart” of her family, always remembering her loved one’s birthdays and celebrating their accomplishments. Nana loved holidays and decorated her home for each season. She shared her passion for gardening, both Bay Area baseball teams, and making cookies with her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. For more than 25 years, Winnie was an active member of the Senior Center at Lafayette Presbyterian Church. Well into her nineties, she organized crafts, prepared sandwiches, arranged rides, and raised money for the “drop-in” community which has been so dear to her. Winifred loved history, preserving the Renfree and Watson family stories in detailed albums, and passing on traditional recipes like Cornish pasties. Most importantly, Nana led her family by providing a shining example of faith in God and people, optimism, and unconditional love.
Winifred is preceded in death by her parents Florence and Winfred Renfree, her brothers Donald and Bill, her husband Reuel Watson, her daughters Beverly Bone, Claudia Watson, and her granddaughter Wendelyn Bone. She is survived by her daughter Diana Wilks of Carmel, nephew Alan Watson, son-in-law William Bone, five grandchildren: Tammy, Richard (Tina), Randall (Allison), Michelle, and Jethrin; and eleven great grandchildren: Lindsey (Taylor), Hannah, Christian, Addison, Elleana, Cassia, Hayden, Jonathan, Beckett, Brayden, and Ashlynn.
Nana enjoyed many visits and phone calls from her adoring family in her final days.
She was comforted as she passed by Aimi Guilles, her caregiver of 11 years and cherished friend. The family would like to thank Aimi, Lucy, and Lourdes for their kindness and service.
Winifred will be buried in a private ceremony at the Sunset View Cemetery in El Cerrito on Friday, August 5th at 1:30 pm with Pastor Gerald Chinen officiating. All are invited to attend a celebration of Winnie’s remarkable life on Saturday, September 10th at Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church at 11:00 am. Pastor Peter Whitelock will officiate, and a reception will follow in Fellowship Hall. Kindly consider a donation in Winnie’s memory to Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church (https://www.lopc.org/give-back/ways-to-give/) or City of Hope Cancer Center (https://www.cityofhope.org/giving/give-honor-or-memory).