Betsy Lindblade Watson
Betsy was born to Victor and Thelma Lindblade in Ann Arbor, Michigan, but her family, including her sister, Vicki, soon after moved to San Diego, where her father began his practice as a pediatrician. After graduating from Point Loma High School, in 1967, Betsy went to the University of California, Berkeley, earning her B.A. in 1971. Betsy attended San Francisco State University for a year of graduate school before going to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she earned her M.A. & Ph.D. in English. Betsy's dissertation--"The Art Criticism of William Hazlitt, John Ruskin, and Walter Pater"-- combined her two loves of art and literature.
Betsy and her future husband, Robert, met in their first graduate school class at UW-Madison, agreeing later that it was fate that brought them together from opposite sides of the country since each was told by a favorite undergraduate professor that as soon as they could they absolutely had to take the professor teaching the course. After dating, Betsy and Rob learned they had been born only 10 days and 40 miles apart, confirming it was their destiny to be together. They were married on August 25, 1973, in the chapel at St. Paul's Cathedral, San Diego.
Once they found each other, Betsy and Rob were inseparable, each becoming English professors, usually teaching at different universities, but always in the same location, with the exception of one school year when Betsy left Marquette University, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to teach at Michigan State University, while Rob stayed at Marquette. After teaching at Michigan State for five years, Betsy taught at Davenport University, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for fifteen years.
Retirement allowed Betsy to move back to her beloved San Diego in 2008 and to live within a few miles rather than half a continent from her mother and sister. In San Diego, Betsy enjoyed gardening, resumed painting, which she had put on hold while devoting herself to her career, and also took up designing and making gorgeous bead necklaces, which she loved giving away as gifts to family and friends. Retirement gave Betsy and Rob more time to travel. Adding to their previous trips to China, England, and Italy, they travelled to Spain, Buenos Aires, Paris, and, just two months ago, Hawaii. Betsy was eagerly anticipating an upcoming trip to Istanbul and Athens when she was diagnosed with brain cancer.
Betsy approached her death, which came less than a month after her diagnosis, with amazing grace and bravery. She frequently recalled, from memory, lines from poetry and other literature that she said offered her great comfort. Betsy kept thanking her husband and sister for being there for her and making this time so "easy" for her, comforting those who were trying to comfort her. She died peacefully, with her husband by her side, holding her hand.
Betsy was preceded in death by her father, Dr. Victor Lindblade, and by her mother, Thelma King Lindblade. She is survived by her husband, Robert Watson, and her sister, Vicki Lindblade.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Humane Society of West Michigan, 3077 Wilson NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49534, to which Betsy was deeply grateful for rescuing her three much-loved cats, or to another charity devoted to saving and protecting the lives of animals, such as the Human Society of the United States, the ASPCA, Hope N' Heroes, or Operation Greyhound.