Irma Lee Watts passed away on March 14, 2019. She was born in Arcata on May 27, 1929 to Bertha Flanery and Lee Ball. She was the youngest of four children. She grew up in Eureka attending local schools, graduating from Eureka High School in 1947. There, she met the love of her life, Eldon Watts. They married in 1948 and moved to Arcata, where she spent her life as a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and teacher. She graduated from Humboldt State College and began her teaching career at Dow’s Prairie Elementary School, moving on to Arcata High School, where she taught for six years. In 1961, she and Eldon, who was also a teacher, moved over to the brand-new McKinleyville High School, where they spent the remainder of their teaching careers, both retiring in the mid-eighties. They spent the next ten years of their y retirement traveling the world together, returning to their favorite city of all Paris - many times.

Irma was passionate about politics, education, and the arts. She was fiesty, opinionated, and the life of the party. She loved telling stories, and was always ready for a glass of wine, a new adventure, or to help anyone in need. She and Eldon hosted many students over the years - including Diana Rivera Vasquez of Guadalajara, Mexico, who became like a daughter to them. There was always room at the Watts house for an exchange student, or someone needing a place while beginning their college career. She dearly loved Humboldt County and its history and community events. She also loved sports - football, basketball, and track and field were her favorites, and she lived for the start of each new season. She was also deeply devoted to her sweet little rescue dog, Marco Polo.

Irma and Eldon had one son, Kevin, in 1949, and went on to adopt their daughter, Kym, from Hong Kong in 1964. She is survived by her daughter Kym, son Kevin and his wife Candy, two granddaughters, Laurie Watts, and Jamie Congedo and her husband Jeff, her beloved dog, Marco Polo, many nieces and nephews, and a wealth of dear friends. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Eldon, her brothers Wesley and Stanley Ball, and her sister, Virginia Ball. All of us who knew Irma well can joyfully imagine her and Eldon together once again - laughing, dancing around, enjoying some delicious cheese and a baguette, and toasting us all with a glass of fine French wine.

A celebration of Irma’s life will be held at the Wharfinger Building, #1 Marina Way, Eureka on y May 26, 2019, from 2 to 4 p.m.

All friends and family are invited to attend. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in her memory to any of these causes that were dear to her:

Parkinson’s Resources of Oregon
8880 SW Nimbus Ave Suite B
Beaverton, OR 97008

The Tom Knight Photography Scholarship Fund Humboldt State University # 1 Harpst St.
Arcata, CA 95521

Humboldt County Historical Society
703 8th St.
Eureka, CA 95501

Thank you to all. Your love and support of our family is greatly appreciated.


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Irma Watts’ family. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.