Peggy (Stephens) Watson
Peggy Watson, 93, a lifelong Monroe County resident and for more than 50 years one of Bloomington’s leading Realtors, died at her home Thursday.
Peggy Jean Stephens Watson grew up in the automobile world. Her father was the founder and longtime head of Harry Stephens Oldsmobile in Bloomington, and she and her three siblings – sisters Dorothy Mae and Joan and brother Harry Jr. – were introduced to sales and customer relations as children in their father’s automobile showrooms.
Later, she joined her brother’s insurance and real estate agency, then went into business herself as a Realtor in 1956, just 31 at the time. It’s questionable whether any individual sold more Bloomington and Monroe County houses than she did from then up to her retirement at 85.
Peggy was born Oct. 14, 1924, in Bloomington to Harry M. and Carrie E. (Butcher) Stephens. She married Darlo Rush, and they were the parents of three children: sons Steven and James and daughter Jill Ann. Her second marriage was to Chester Watson. Her parents, her siblings, her husbands and her three children all preceded her in death. She and sister Joan were particularly close; Joan, in failing health her last several years, lived those years with Peggy in her Bloomington home before dying at 90 three months ago. Peggy’s death came on what would have been Joan’s 91st birthday.
Survivors include grandson Casey (Abbie) Hamilton and their children Lane and Colter of Cainsville, MO., granddaughter Nikkie (Cory) Holtwick and their children Ava and Drake of Kansas City, Mo., niece Jane Johnson and her children Kathy (Tom) Higgins, Thomas, and David of Bloomington, and special friends Tom, Beth, and Kaianne Mooradian.
In business and in her private life, Peggy was beloved as a caring “people person,” known for her kindness to her wide circle of friends and generous in her support of community activities, the Bloomington Hospital Foundation, Indiana University (though never a student there), and her church (United Presbyterian of Bloomington). Her grandchildren marveled at her spunk and determination: she married at 16 and didn’t graduate from high school, but in her mid-50s completed work that gave her a GED.
Peggy frequently expressed her gratitude and love for her own private caregivers, her doctors and, through both her own and Joan's time of great need, the kind people of Bloomington Hospice House.
Services for Peggy will be at 12 noon Monday at The Funeral Chapel of Powell and Deckard, 3000 E. Third St. Rev. John Napoli will officiate the service, and burial will follow at Rose Hill Cemetery.
Visitation will be Monday from 11 a.m. until the service.