Marilyn Watson’s cheerful demeanor has made her a well-loved resident of New Community Associates.
A longtime resident of the senior and disabled building located at 180 South Orange Ave. in Newark, Watson has lived there 19 years and serves as treasurer of the Tenant Association. She attends meetings in the building, volunteers to host, serve food and actively participates in outings such as bus trips. She also sings soprano in the New Community Gospel Choir.
“Ms. Watson is very helpful and outgoing. She is always involved in every event and has a beautiful personality,” Care Coordinator Lourdes Fuentes said. Earlier this year, Watson was honored at the City of Newark’s Annual Senior Fashion Show as a member of the executive committee.
Before retiring, Watson, now 67, worked for 17 years as a Certified Nursing Assistant. She started her career in healthcare as a candy striper at age 12. Watson said that she was devastated when a health condition forced her to go on disability. She tried several times to get hired, and was successful, only to have her former boss call her new employer and get her terminated.
“I said, ‘But I’d rather work,’” said Watson, a mother of two children, a step-daughter and several grand, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.
Watson was born in Goldsboro, N.C., the third oldest of six children. She attended Camden Street School, West Kinney Junior High and graduated from West Side High in Newark.
She met the man who would become her husband when she walked into the neighborhood hardware store where he worked. Robert Watson Jr. would soon be drafted and sent to fight in the Vietnam War. They married when he came home briefly on leave, when she was 18 and he was 20. The couple had a daughter and son.
Despite her sunny personally, Watson has experienced great tragedy in her life. Her husband was stabbed to death in 1969 and Watson became a widow.
In her free time, Watson enjoys walking around the Central Ward of Newark, playing bingo at her building and window shopping during trips to Atlantic City.