Lt. Jean Louise Watson, USN (WAVE)

Longtime Coronado resident retired U.S. Navy Lt. Jean Louise Watson was born in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, in 1927. Upon graduating as a University of Delaware Blue Hen with honors, Watson began her career as a high school music teacher. She soon wanted more adventure and pursued a job with American Airlines. She enjoyed the travel and decided to take it to a new level and become a Navy WAVE, Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service.

On April 24, 1952, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Watson enlisted in the Navy and was commissioned as an Ensign WAVE. She loved Navy life. Her first assignment was in Newport, Rhode Island, at the Naval Line School where she was trained in the security of classified matters. She then received orders for San Diego where she was the education officer at the Naval Training Center. Her primary role was administering service exams. She had two very close fellow WAVE friends during that time and, together, they formed a camaraderie that endured the challenges of being women in the service and all that it entailed.

In 1958, Watson received orders for Bainbridge, Maryland, and there, she helped train WAVE recruits during the height of the Korean War. While at the Officers Club one evening, she met fellow Naval Officer George Watson. They married in March 1960, and she was subsequently required by Navy regulations to resign from the Navy as she could not be in the Navy and have children.

Watson then served the Coronado community in meaningful ways. She was a Sunday School teacher at Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church for years and manager and volunteer of the Graham Memorial Church Thrift Cottage for decades. She is a member of the Philanthropic Educational Organization, Women’s Club, Crown Garden Club and was the president and active member of the San Diego Symphony Women’s Committee.

Watson reminisces with pride about her career in the Navy, as well as her life in Coronado. She is a true patriot and wonderful representative of this special city. During her service, she received the National Defense Service Medal.

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