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Strong work ethic, music drove centenarian |
Obituary Stories

Strong work ethic, music drove centenarian

Jerry Vondas
| Thursday, April 16, 2015 10:48 p.m
Eliza Helen Werchowski Watts, formerly of Trafford, passed away of natural causes Saturday, April 11, 2015, in Valparaiso, Ind. at Golden LivingCenters. She was 102.

Eliza Watts was a woman of many talents, and she put those talents to work in many roles throughout the eastern suburbs.

She made candy at Sherm Edwards Candy Store in Trafford, handled the bookkeeping for Kubric’s Farm Market in Monroeville and assisted the nuns at St. Regis Church in Trafford, said her son Thomas Watts, 67, of Farmington.

“She had to do the job to her best ability possible,” he said. “She took pride in everything that she did — her appearance, her house, how she carried herself and how she talked.”

Eliza Helen Werchowski Watts, formerly of Trafford, passed away of natural causes on Saturday, April 11, 2015, in Valparaiso, Ind. She was 102.

Mrs. Watts grew up in Pittsburgh’s North Side and, after graduating from high school, worked in the office at Reymer Brothers Candy Factory, which made “Lemon Blennd,” her son said.

She then held jobs at the Joseph Horne Co., the Trafford Public Library and LaBarbe’s Restaurant in Monroeville.

Having food on the table for her family was important to Mrs. Watts, who cooked only homemade meals.

“We never knew what a TV dinner was,” Thomas Watts said.

When the family gathered, Mrs. Watts and her husband spent the day cooking steak and spaghetti.

“Everybody ate until they couldn’t stand it anymore,” her son said.

“She was famous for making her nut rolls,” said her daughter-in-law, Michele Watts, who is married to William R. Watts.

Mrs. Watts loved movies and musicals, and she was known for playing the piano and organ and singing.

At Christmas, Mrs. Watts would wait by the door for her family to arrive and greet them with a holiday tune, Michele Watts recalled.

William R. Watts, 65, of the state of Indiana, said his mother had a “gentle, warm spirit.” Though she liked to work, he said she “loved to be on the beach with her sons” in Wildwood, N.J., even when it was cold.

“We’d be out there turning blue, and she’d be out there with us,” he said.

Mrs. Watts is preceded in death by her first husband, Francis J. Gill, who died in 1944. She is also preceded in death by her second husband, Clement P. Watts; her parents and seven siblings. In addition to her sons and daughter-in-law, she is survived by several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Visitors will be received from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday in the John M. Dobrinick Funeral Home Inc., 702 Seventh St., Trafford. Prayers will be at 9 a.m. Saturday in the funeral home, followed by a funeral Mass at 9:30 a.m. in St. Regis Church with the Rev. David Nazimek as celebrant. Interment will be private in St. Patrick’s Cemetery, Gallitzin.

Nicole Chynoweth is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2862 or

Categories: Obituaries
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