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Reta Frances Watterson, 93

Reta Frances Watterson, 93 years, passed to Heaven on March 6, 2013 at Rocky Ridge Manor, Mansfield, Mo., with her family by her side.
Reta was born Jan. 22, 1920 at her home in Smallett, Mo., to Earnest and Edith (Robertson) Hamby. She was the third of seven children.  She was saved when she was about 5 years old and baptized in the creek. Her father, Earnest, was a Church of God (Holiness) minister.
It was at a camp meeting when Ray Watterson first saw Reta when she was 14 years old, and told his mother he had seen the girl he was going to marry. So, on Sept. 11, 1937 Reta and Ray Donald Watterson were united in marriage in Ava, Mo. To this union four children were born.
Reta was a homemaker and a dairy farmer. She worked hard raising her family and working on the farm right alongside her husband, Ray. She was a longtime devoted 60-plus years member of Ava Highway Church of the Nazarene. She served the church as a Sunday school teacher, choir member, and board member. Reta truly had a burden for the unsaved. She was an optimist who believed, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Reta loved to travel, and was blessed to take two trips to the Holy Land. She often talked about walking those roads that Jesus walked. Reta loved her family and they did her. They were the light of her life. Reta’s prayer was, “That all her family and friends would be saved.”  Reta has been a wonderful example to all, of a life well-lived for Christ! She was the true matriarch of her family.
Reta was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Ray in 1975; four brothers, Rex, Ray, Russell and Ronnie Hamby; two  sisters, Reba Hobbs and Rema Hamby; and  two granddaughters, Angela Watterson and Faira Watterson Spindle.
Reta is survived by four children and their spouses, James Donald “Jim” and Gaytha Watterson, Ava, Mo., Bobby Ray and Wilda Watterson, Johnny Wayne and Carol Sue Watterson, all of Mansfield, Mo., and Brenda Kay and Jack Freeman, Marshfield, Mo.; 11 grandchildren, 24  great-grandchildren,  three great-great-grandsons; a sister-in-law, Phyllis Hamby; many nieces, nephews and a host of other relatives and friends.
Funeral services for Reta were Saturday, March 9, at 2 p.m at the Ava Highway Church of the Nazarene with burial in the Ava Cemetery. Visitation was Saturday from 12:30 p.m. to service time in the church. Officiating were Pastor Mark Hatcher and the Rev. John Moles.
Memorials may be made to Ava Highway Church of the Nazarene building fund. Services were conducted by Clinkingbeard Funeral Home, Ava, Mo.
Online condolences may be made to www.clinkingbeardfuneral