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Lee (LeClaire) B. Watts

January 10, 1928 December 25, 2009
Lee (LeClaire) B. Watts
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Obituary for Lee (LeClaire) B. Watts

Lee (LeClaire) B. Watts, of Storrs, died December 25, 2009 in Mansfield Center for Nursing in Storrs, CT. She was born in Indiana, PA. the daughter of Floyd and Anna (Sylvis) Barnett. She attended Indiana High School. Lee earned her B.A. and M.A. degrees at Penn State and her Ph.D. at UConn in 1968, after which she became one of the most respected and beloved professors at Eastern Connecticut State University. She taught Spanish and Spanish Literature, was active academically and professionally, and headed the Modern Language Department for many years. During that time, she developed the Spanish major and internship program and founded the Nu Chi Chapter of Sigma Delta Pi, the Spanish honorary society. Her dynamic personality and charm made her one of the most popular professors at Eastern among students, faculty and staff. Very interested in the teaching of foreign languages in elementary and high schools, as well as the university level, she organized and headed the Alliance of Foreign Language Teachers of Eastern Connecticut. She served on and chaired the State Language Advisory Committee. She was a long-time member of professional organizations, MLA, Colt and MAFLA, giving sessions and presentations at various conferences. Among the honors she received were the Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award for 1987, the Hermann Beckert “Friends of the University” Award from Eastern Connecticut State University and the Council of Language Teachers award recognizing 36 years of service to the profession. Even after her retirement in 1995, she attended conferences and maintained her expertise in  the field. Until very recently, as Professor Emerita, she continued to be an active member of the department and the university. More important, she remained the warm and affectionate person that made everyone around her happy and the world a better place. Lee is survived by Steve, her loving husband of 57 years. High school sweethearts, they were together for 64 wonderful years. In addition, she is survived by her niece, Laurie Lewis and nephew, Stephen Walts. A scholarship in her name will be established at Eastern Connecticut State University. Funeral Services will be held Wednesday, 12/30/09, at 10:00 a.m. at the Bacon Funeral Home, 71 Prospect St. Willimantic, CT. Burial will follow in the Storrs Cemetery on North Eagleville Rd in Storrs.

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