Marion (English) Watson

Watson (English), Marion

97, of St. Paul, passed away peacefully on March 28, returning to that which is all life. She is survived by her son John of Minneapolis, and daughters Lisa (Jos. Birken) Watson of Singapore, and Danie (David Bolick) Watson of Mound; nieces and nephews Ann Hemming, Kathy Martin, Ted Leines, Susan English, Gail Leininger, Brian Wohlrabe, Bruce Wohlrabe, and Ellen Frank. She is preceded in death by parents Royal and Pearl (neé Edwards) English, sister Jeanette Leines, brother Bob English, niece Jane English, and former husband Harold Watson.

Marion, a proud Army veteran who served as a codebreaker in World War II, was active in government, academia, and her community throughout her life. She was Station Manager at KUOM radio for three decades, where she pioneered programming for American Indians, Hispanics, African Americans, and women. In 2008, Marion was inducted into the Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame (see www.pavekmuseum.org/watson).

Marion was a passionate defender of civil rights and lobbied actively for the Minnesota State Act Against Discrimination, which passed in 1961 by one vote. She served on the Minnesota Council of Civil and Human Rights from 1957–67.

She was very active in the League of Women Voters, from which she received several honors, and for which she authored the books “Indians in Minnesota” and “Women in the Labor Force” in 1962. In 1972, Marion was appointed Vice Chair of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency board, and had previously served on the Minnesota Indian Affairs Commission. Marion was past President of the St. Paul YWCA, and a member of Unity Unitarian Church in St. Paul.

Marion will be remembered for her unerring moral compass, curiosity, sense of humor, loyalty, enthusiasm for reading and skating, and her love of family. Her happiest days were spent at her cabin near Hudson. Marion touched many lives, and will be dearly missed.

Due to the pandemic, a memorial service will be announced at a later date. Memorials may be directed to the League of Women Voters of St. Paul.