In Memory of





Obituary for Agnes Louvanna Watson (Baker)

Mrs. Agnes Baker Watson

A Life of Sacrifice, Strength, Laughter, and Love

Sunrise: March 3, 1938 Ÿ Sunset: April 27, 2023

On March 3, 1938, in Chaptico, Maryland, Agnes Louvannia Baker was the first daughter and second child of twelve (10 girls and two boys) born to parents William Marshall and Mamie Rebecca (Bowman) Baker. Affectionately nicknamed “Sister,” Agnes began her schooling at the age of six in a one-room schoolhouse in Wicomico, Maryland. Raised during the Jim Crow Era, she attended the all-Black Bel Alton Middle and High School in Bel Alton, Maryland, where she was a cheerleader, majorette, member of the basketball team, and yearbook Editor-in-Chief. On June 4, 1956, Agnes graduated salutatorian of her class. Fresh from high school, with the support of future Governor William Donald Schaefer, she became the first Black toll collector at the Governor Harry W. Nice Memorial (Potomac River) Bridge (now Nice/Middleton Bridge) in Newburg, Maryland. That first job sealed her place in Charles County history, and emboldened her to stand up to prejudice when confronted with racist drivers whom Maryland State Police would run down and discipline.

Agnes married Arthur Gardiner Watson, and six children were born to that union – often referred to as “Agnes’s girls.” She remained involved in her children’s education, holding various positions in the PTA and PTO and serving on committees at their schools and at the Charles County Board of Education. Agnes stayed home to raise her family until her youngest attended school, after which she worked for the Board of Education as a Parent Counselor and Teacher’s Aide.

After leaving the school system, Agnes worked as a Nurse’s Aide at the Charles County Nursing Home. She left that position to work in the Horticulture Department of then-Charles County Community College, renamed the College of Southern Maryland (CSM). While there, she earned certifications as a florist and horticulturist. And her time at the community college paved the way for her three youngest to attend CSM during high school and beyond. When the Horticulture Department was abolished, Agnes shifted to become the manager of the Print Shop at CSM, from which she retired in April 2000.

One-by-one, her girls left home, and Agnes kept busy in the community, as well as working full-time and part-time. Her part-time positions included Walmart’s Sewing Department, Wawa (as a coffee specialist), and the Hallmark Card Store where she developed her collection of Swarovski Christmas ornaments. For years, she was a member or officer of the Ladies’ Auxiliary of the Bel Alton Fire Department and her

neighborhood Crime Watch Committee, Resident Manager for her townhouse development, and member of the Tri-County Housing Committee.

Wherever Agnes worked, she created a community of friends. While at Hallmark, she seemed to have made friends at every store in the mall! Her son-in-law recalls he came to Hallmark to ask for her daughter’s hand in marriage, and (beaming ear-to-ear) she paraded him from store to store introducing him to so many people as her new son-in-law that he had to admonish her, “Wait! She hasn’t said ‘yes,’ yet!”

Agnes was known for working with her hands. Her children and grandchildren all agree her potato salad should be a food group and her fried chicken should be patented! And let’s not get started talking about her stuffed ham and fruit cake! However, the joys of her heart were gardening and crafts. One year, after first freeze, she dug up plants from the ground that would not survive the cold weather, and along with those, she sheltered more than 80 potted plants that were on her porches, placing them up and down the stairs inside the house, as well as in every room! Her home was filled with plants, fresh flowers, natural peppermint tea, cherry tomatoes, and a host of other goodies from her garden. From leaf collections and papier-mâché eggs when her children were young, to scrapbooking and science projects as they grew, Agnes was hands-on and creative. She lovingly produced floral arrangements and bouquets for weddings, banquets, and other social events. Agnes also amassed an impressive collection of pink Depression-era glass. A gifted seamstress, she sewed for her girls as well as wedding gowns for a fortunate few.

Many of Agnes’s talents were passed to her girls, including her love of music. Agnes’s house was full of warmth, talent shows her girls created to entertain and make her laugh, and fun times watching TV – her children chuckled when she yelled, “Yeow!” because something exciting happened on-screen. Agnes played badminton and softball with her girls; kidded heartily with her first grandson – getting on all-fours to become his first human horse; reveled in being nicknamed “Grandma Hotdog” by her first granddaughter; made amazing Easter baskets for her children and grands; created ornate window/door decorations and wreaths for holidays; and made life special in countless ways for her entire crew.

Agnes was renowned for her strength and true grit by all who knew her. Becoming a single mother is never easy, but navigating life with six girls was a monumental task. Although she received love and support from family and friends, Agnes was the lone rock for her girls, who could not have had a more solid example of tenacity and faith. Whether she was chopping down a Christmas tree and strapping it to the

roof of the car, fearlessly mowing the lawn around the bee-hive-saturated tree stump, or making ends meet when the task looked impossible, Agnes kept moving forward, held her family together, persevered, and triumphed with amazing grace and dignity. Her deep and abiding love for family, extraordinary work ethic, and unshakeable determination are only three of the many character traits she passed to her girls.

On April 27, 2023, Agnes passed to glory in the presence of her first-born, leaving the growing family she created with her six daughters to celebrate her memory: Shirley Watson, Millie Fisher (Marvin), Carolyn Watson, Wanda Bullock (Kenneth–deceased), Ingrid Milton (Richard), and Susan V. Watson; grandchildren Bryan M. Fisher, Blake M. Fisher (partner Emily), Whitney (Bullock) Bright (James), William Bullock (Rose), and Miranda Simone Milton; great-grandsons Izigk Ali Fisher and Blake K. Fisher; and great-granddaughter Drew Alicia Bright.

Agnes also leaves cherished memories with her surviving siblings Gladys Duckett (Herman–deceased), Clara Holly, Alice Olaine Bankins (Joe–deceased), Ernest Baker (Ann), Margaret Bernice Dunn, Helen Bernadette Hawley (Leonard), Mary Charolett Medley (Charles), Janice Spears (James), and Brenda Corrine Smallwood (Thomas); in-laws Dorothy Watson, Ann (Watson) Sharp, James Andrew Watson, Sr. (Ursula), James Walback Watson (Gerlean–deceased), and Victor Watson (Bettie); godchildren Katurah Antoinette Baker and Martin Whalen; and a host of cousins, nephews, nieces, and friends.

Agnes was preceded in death by her parents; grandson Derek William Bullock; son-in-law Kenneth Bullock; brother Retired Lt. Col. William Baker and wife Blanche; sister Ann Christeen Whalen and husband Joseph; brothers-in-law James “Herman” Duckett, Sr., Joseph Bankins, Sr., Richard Jerome Watson, Jr. and wife Jane; John Oscar Watson and wife Barbara; sisters-in-law Lillian Viola (Watson) Bush and Gerlean (Williams) Watson.
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