Mary Watson passed away peacefully on May 16, 2023, at The Forum in Overland Park, Kansas. Born Mary Ann Huttanus to William and Faye Huttanus in Emporia, Kansas, Mary’s family moved to Topeka when she was young. Mary’s older brother Bill looked out for his sister and gave her sage advice throughout their lives. He gave her confidence to approach new situations, knowing that she was capable of great things.
Growing up in Topeka, Mary delighted in making new friends and cherished her relationships. One of those relationships was Diane Ahl Galle, who was the daughter of her mother’s best friend. Growing up next door to each other, the two were together day and night and grew up like sisters. Mary was a part of Diane’s life from the very beginning, a relationship that continued as Diane married Jim Galle and gave birth to two daughters, Adrienne and Lauren. In fact, Mary was godmother to both girls and doted on them throughout their lives.
Always up for an adventure, Mary pursued a career in the airline industry as a flight attendant for Trans World Airlines (TWA). Through her work, Mary traveled the world, flying out of Kansas City, JFK and St. Louis airports. A few of her favorite destinations included Europe, Egypt and Africa. Her final trip and retirement was July 2003.
Shortly after she started her career as a flight attendant, Mary met the love of her life, Fred Watson. He was a newly minted graduate of Washburn University with a bright future. After six short months of dating, the two married in November 1967, a union that would last more than 55 years. They traveled the world, golfed and entertained together, making friends wherever they went.
Mary was a proud member of two TWA groups—Silver Wings and Clipped Wings. The groups were a great way for retired flight attendants to keep in touch long after they had retired. Mary developed many close relationships throughout her career and person life, including her special friends Karen Peyton and Judy Hoehn.
In addition to spending time with their many friends and work associates, Mary and Fred were always engaged in family gatherings. Mary was the life of the party and hosted family Christmas celebrations every year, complete with great food and a tree overflowing with presents. Everything was wrapped individually to ensure that there was a multitude of presents. It was the highlight of everyone’s year because Mary made it special. One of her signature moves was to leave a few gifts unwrapped on the entry-hall steps, so her great nephew and great niece would see them as soon as they entered the front door. She adored Logan and Victoria, never missing a chance to be a part of their life story. She loved to hear what was going on in their lives and was there to support them in any way possible.
Mary took up golf in part so she could spend more time with Fred on the golf course and joined the Ladies Golf Association. Finding that she had a knack for playing golf, Mary participated in many tournaments, adding to her ever-growing list of friends.
In addition, Fred and Mary were members of Brookridge Golf Club for more than 15 years and founding members of Nicklaus Gold Club at LionsGate, where they were actively involved in both the golf and social activities, such as Empty Nesters.
Mary was preceded in death by her parents (William and Faye Huttanus, brother (Bill Huttanus) and nephew (Mark Shaffer). She is survived by Fred Watson, her loving husband of 55 years. She is also survived by her nephew Arthur Shaffer (Linda), great nephew (Logan) and great nieces (Victoria and Zoey).
You will note that this story of Mary’s life does not include a birth date. That was by design. Years ago, Mary made Fred promise not to include it with her life’s story. As a result, she will be forever young in our hearts. Raise a glass of wine to help us toast a life well lived. Mary, your infectious laughter and generous spirit are an inspiration to all who knew you! We love you!
The family would like to thank the staff at the Forum for taking good care of Mary. Your personalized attention meant a great deal.
Services for Mary will be held on Monday, May 22 at Johnson County Funeral Chapel & Memorial Gardens, 11200 Metcalf Avenue, Overland Park, Kansas. Visitation will be at 11:30 a.m. followed by the funeral at 12:30 p.m. Interment will take place immediately following at Resurrection Catholic Cemetery, 8300 Quivira Road, Lenexa, Kansas. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to either City Union Mission or the TWA Museum at the following addresses:
City Union Mission
1100 East 11st Street
Kansas City, MO 64106
ATTN: Pam Blaschum, President
10 Richards Road
Kansas City, MO 64116