ROCKINGHAM — Rilla Mae Maness Watson, 93, passed away peacefully at The Laurels in Pittsboro, on Sept. 15, 2022. She was surrounded by her loved ones when she left to be with our Lord.
Rilla Mae (Billie) was born on Aug. 26, 1929 in Rockingham. She was the fourth of four children of John Pleasant Maness and Maude (Melton) Maness.
Billie loved her family, and was given the nickname of “Billie” by her brother, Legrand Maness, when she was a kid growing up in Rockingham. The Maness parents were cotton mill workers and were very dedicated to family and work. As the children began growing up, and World War II began, family economies became tough, and Billie found a job at the Woolworth 5 & dime at 17 in Rockingham. This is where she met her husband John H. Watson Sr. of Hoffman. They were married for 68 years.
She loved the beach, setting in the sun watching and talking to people, even if they were strangers. She loved feeding her hummingbirds, which she would sit on the back porch and watch for hours. Billie enjoyed dressing up in her Sunday best and continued this mindset until she was unable to dress herself.
She was the daughter of the late John P Maness Sr. and Maude (Melton) Maness of Rockingham, North Carolina.
She was preceded in death by her husband, John H Watson Sr.; daughter, Sandra Watson Bailey; a granddaughter, Angela Watson Morrison; her brother, John P. Maness Jr. of Rockingham, North Carolina; and sister, Hazel Maness Covington, of Rockingham, North Carolina.
She is survived by her daughter, Gloria Watson Edward and husband Dean of Little River, South Carolina; son, John H. Watson Jr. and wife Retta of Knoxville, Tennessee; five grandchildren: and nine great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her brother. LeGrand Maness of Georgia; and many friends, neighbors and loved ones.
A graveside service will be at Eastside Cemetery on Monday, Sept. 19, 2022 at 2 p.m. with the Rev. Jason Moore officiating.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Roberdel Baptist Church, 1118 Richmond Road, Rockingham, NC 28379.
Online condolences may be made at watson-kingfuneralhome.com. Watson-King Funeral Home in Rockingham is serving the Watson family.