Virginia Gunning Watts
Virginia, our beloved mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother left our earthly presence on Monday, Oct. 29, at age 96.
Her parents, Clarence and Mary Gunning, had started their family in Scarsdale, N.Y., and shortly after 1910, migrated to Los Angeles where they bought a home near where the L.A. Coliseum now sits. Virginia, the youngest of four children, was born there at home. Her brothers, Henry and Fred, preceded her in death, and her sister, Cynthia, is still living in San Clemente, Calif.. at 103 years old.
After completing high school and while working at Bullock’s Department Store, Virginia met the love of her life, Edward Watts. Ed, who was raised in the Visalia are, was working for Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica. They were married in Yuma, Ariz. on June 14, 1941, and established their home in Visalia where Ed returned to farming. Virginia gave birth to their three children, Flo, Jim and Tom.
They relocated their family to Whittier, Calif. and then Encino after Ed was injured in a farming accident. Virginia was active in the Mother’s group of Little League Baseball as well as a Den Mother of her boys’ Cub Scout Troop. As each of her children became adults, they returned to Visalia. Once Ed retired from L.A. County, they also returned. Ed couldn’t stay away from farming, so he and Virginia bought a home and walnut orchard. They hosted many large gatherings as well as holiday dinners, weddings, and receptions for family and friends over the years at this ranch. Also during this time, “Gramma” joined “PaPa” tirelessly encouraging the grandkids in all their activities from cheering for their swim meets, water polo matches, basketball, volleyball, and softball games to church music camp productions. Her home had a revolving door where the grandkids could always count on a loving hug and a tasty snack or a home away from home to camp out at.
Virginia was preceded in death by Ed Watts, after 56 years of marriage, Jean Watts, Rick Johnston, grandson, Tim Watts, and great-grandson, Aiden Boydstun.
Survivors include her children, Flo Johnston of Visalia, Jim Watts (Betsy) of Cayucos and Tom Watts (Cheryl) of Exeter; grandchildren, Rickie Johnston (Kelli) of Tiburon, Erin Klang (Ryan) of Seattle, Wash., Rodney Johnston ( Rebecca) of Honolulu, Hawaii, Roland Johnston (Olivia) of Visalia, Reid Johnston (Taylor) of Visalia, Rusty Watts of Cayucos, Tina Perkinson (Len) of Winnemucca, Nev., Tiffany Boydstun (Matthew) of Visalia, Christy Balderama (Robert) of Hanford, Debbie Kambourian (Robert) of Visalia, and 24 great-grandchildren; four nieces and one nephew.
The family wishes to thank the staff at Kaweah Delta Hospital 4th floor south wing for their kindness and care for mother, as well as caregivers Alma Guevara, Rosemary Cluck, Teresa Hilvers, Jackie DeLucas, and Lisa Freeman who assisted Flo with care at home.
Condolences can be made at www.smithfamilychapel.com
Arrangements by Smith Family Chapel, Exeter.