This obituary originally appeared on Auclair Funeral Home.

Kathleen Watterson, 66, of Fall River, MA passed away on Tuesday, April 28 after a brief illness.  Kathleen was born on November 5, 1953 in Newport, RI.  She was the daughter of the late John E. and Edith (Rafferty) Watterson.  

Kathleen always felt that she had hit the trifecta by being born in the simpler times of the 1950’s, being raised in the old Irish Fifth Ward of Newport, and remaining in close proximity to her family home for her first 64 years.  Being a true Newporter by all standards was a label she embraced throughout her life. 

Kathleen enjoyed various types of employment as well as her years of volunteering with The Women’s Resource Center in Newport. Her favorite jobs were as an Administrative Assistant at The Cluny School in Newport.  Her booming voice and hearty laugh on the school intercom were as good as the morning bell to inform everyone that classes were about to begin. Upon Cluny’s closing, her next experience was with the Little Compton School Department.  

When Kathleen wasn’t involved in work or a school activity during the academic year, she could be seen at Ramp #2 at Second Beach in Middletown.  She could be spotted from a distance with her color coordinated umbrella and chair and wide-brimmed straw hat. There was nothing like a warm summer beach day to kiss her abundant Irish freckles.  She wore them proudly.  If she wasn’t in the ocean itself, she was buried in the latest book from Oprah’s Book Club or the New York Times Best Seller List.  

Kathleen was happiest with family and friends.  She never missed a Saint Patrick’s Day parade in the dead of winter and, in gentler weather, loved socializing on decks and at fire pits, especially if red wine was involved.  She was witty, well read, wise, and wacky, with a bit of stubbornness for good measure.  To fill out her summer schedule, Kathleen was a faithful attendee on the opening night concerts for The Newport Jazz Festivals.

Kathleen is survived by her brother James Watterson and his wife Barbara of Westport, MA and her brother William Watterson of Cape Coral, FL and Portsmouth, RI, a brother-in-law, Roger O’Shea of Lakeville, MA and a sister-in-law Nancy Watterson. She was predeceased by her brothers, Rev. John Watterson, Daniel Watterson, Stephen Watterson and her sister, Marilyn Watterson O’Shea. She also leaves behind several nieces and nephews.  In addition to her family, Kathleen left a large group of committed friends who will miss her dearly.

Kathleen’s beliefs about life and death can be best summed up by a quote from William Butler Yeats, who wrote, “Death does not end life but is a part of it, one of nature’s transformations as we work our way through its cycles.”  

To honor Kathleen’s memory, please consider donating a book to a school of your choice or make a donation to The Women’s Resource Center, 114 Touro St. Newport, RI 02840

Due to the current restrictions on public gatherings, Kathleen’s funeral and burial service will take place at a later date. Online condolences at

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