We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Elliott Funeral Home
Thelma Louise Watson passed away peacefully on August 7th, 2022 in Dothan, Alabama. She was born on November 14, 1943, in Albany, GA, to Mary Elizabeth Watson and Odest Jefferson Watson II. Thelma moved back to Albany, GA, in 2004 where she enjoyed working for the city in various roles and remained in Albany the rest of her days.
Thelma was always known as a high-intellect individual amongst her peers. She was a graduate of Monroe High School, Morgan State University in Baltimore (B. S. degree in Psychology), and Northeastern University in Boston, MA (MBA). Morgan State University also awarded her an Honorary Juris Doctorate. She was credentialed as a Certified Nonprofit Consultant by the National Association of Nonprofit Organizations and Executives and was appointed as a Governor for that organization for 2017 and 2018.
Thelma enjoyed working where the action was and had a wide range of experiences at the Federal and local government levels, non-profit organizations, and as a consultant to both government and small businesses. She left her footprints in the sand from coast to coast: in San Francisco, Boston, Washington, DC, and Albany, Georgia. Throughout her career, Thelma gravitated to the housing industry, where she believed decent and affordable housing was the necessary foundation for a higher standard of living and the key to a thriving community. Some of her positions held include but are not limited to:
As Executive Director of Fair Housing, she educated the city commissioners, staff, and Albany community on the tenets of fair housing laws and was vigilant in their implementation. She held several other positions with the City of Albany before retiring – Community Services Manager, Interim Director of the Department of Community and Economic Development, Interim Director of the Department of Code Enforcement, and Grants Coordinator in the Office of the City Manager. After retirement, Thelma was a consultant and presenter on project management and designing, and on implementing new policies and procedures for several organizations and businesses.
As much as Thelma worked, she also relaxed with the same intensity. She was the quintessential hostess and had a flair for hosting dinner parties, card games (especially pinochle), back yard barbeques, or taking a trip to the nearest Department store to shop. Being on Thelma’s guest list for one of her parties was a privilege because, in addition to putting together a great mix of people, she served the most deliciously prepared dishes. Even when she served hot dogs at one gathering, there was no doubt they had been flown in from the finest delicatessen.
Thelma grew up in Bethel AME Church and reconnected as a member when she returned to Albany. She loved volunteering with Sarah R. Gray Children’s Outreach Ministry as well as the United Way of Southwest Georgia’s Basic Needs Committee, where housing was one of the focus areas. She was a proud member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and kept in touch with her Alpha Delta chapter Sorors regularly. She was a member of Utilis Matronae Club where her mother was also a member. She joined in 2004. In all that Thelma did and pursued, she always loved and made time for family: both biological and adopted. She will be remembered for her smile, her grunts & facial expressions, and most of all her joyful and vibrant spirit.
Thelma leaves to cherish a lifetime of loving memories, her sister; Aurora Diane Watson Page; her Stepsister Kay Seay; her nieces Keesha Watson, Sydni Nicole McClaine (Julian McClaine); her nephews Mark Watson and John O. Page and nieces-in-love, Tanya Watson, Celia A. Page; her great-nieces; Maya Alexandria Watson Wood (Chris Wood), Amaia Suero, Jelese Page, Johani Page; her great-nephews; Mark Watson Jr., Gadi Suaro; her great-great niece Layloni and a host of family, friends and colleagues.