Jean Grace McWatters
November 15, 1948 - June 27, 2023
On Tuesday, June 27, 2023, Jean Grace McWatters, age 74, of Newark, DE, passed away in her sleep while under the care of Millcroft Living.
Jean was born to the late Philip and Mildred Terry in Podunk, Massachusetts on November 15, 1948 and was raised in a loving home, built by her parents. She was raised in a home filled with love and siblings. Jean had 10 brothers and sisters: David, Jim, Joel, Roy, Robin, Tom, Chris, Cindy, Karen and Grace. After graduating from high school, Jean entered the U.S. Navy in 1967 and was stationed briefly in San Diego, California. Jean worked in administrative support until her discharge once married and expecting a child.
Jean was married to William A. McWatters, Sr. in 1968 and promptly gave birth to two sons, William Andrew McWatters Jr. later that year, and Philip Edward McWatters in 1970. The early years involved quite a bit of travel but eventually the family bought a home and settled in Newark, DE in April 1977. It was here that Jean lived until her death in 2023.
Jean had three distinct phases of her life after moving to Newark. She became a single mother and her priority during this time was raising two boys on one income. Raising young men was a responsibility she took seriously and her efforts resulted in young men that filled her with pride. While as a single mother, Jean earned a business degree from Goldey-Beacom College and became Publisher for Wide Range, Inc. Her successes at home, in the classroom, and professionally were marveled by many because of her sheer energy and determination.
Once Jean felt she had finished her work with the boys and attained the professional status of publisher she pursued personal passions important to her. She dedicated her life to Calvary Baptist Church taking up many roles and responsibilities such as being a Deacon, Sunday School teacher, presentation coordinator, choir member and recording secretary among many other jobs. Jean also began painting as a way to connect with her mother who was a well-respected painter in Massachusetts. Her fondest memories were of spending nearly every vacation traveling with her mother to painting retreats along the East Coast. Dozens of paintings completed by both Jean and her mother line the walls of family member’s homes everywhere.
In the early 2000’s Jean entered the third significant phase of her life. Jean welcomed her first granddaughter, Madeline McWatters, in February 2003. In February 2005 Jean welcomed her second granddaughter, Alex. She lost her father, Philip Terry, in December 2005. Jean lost her mother, Mildred Terry, in September 2009. During this time, she transitioned seamlessly from dedicating her life to connecting with her parents to loving her granddaughters. Jean left Wide Range and took a sabbatical to spend time with her granddaughters before joining the State of Delaware as an administrator primarily in charge of publishing the directory for state services in Delaware.
Once Jean became a grandmother her son jokingly suggested she be called “Granny Mac”, which she embraced wholeheartedly. Granny Mac was exceptionally proud of Madi and Alex. Granny Mac made it a priority to see every performance and sporting event. Perhaps her favorite moment spent as a family was delivering cookies and cocoa to people working on Christmas Eve with her granddaughters. Every Christmas Eve she would look forward to a church service followed by visiting fast food restaurants, liquor stores, and police stations to deliver Christmas cheer to completely unsuspecting folks.
Jean will be remembered for two fundamental aspects of her personality. Jean was incredibly hard working. Perhaps the most important aspect she passed onto her children and grandchildren was that effort and intentions are every bit as important as the end result. Jean also possessed an incredible sense of humor. Few have ever seen someone face difficulties with a smile and a gentle chuckle like Jean McWatters.
In addition to her parents, Jean was preceded in death by her brothers, Jim Terry, Tom Terry and David Terry. Jean is survived by her sons, Philip Edward McWatters (Ellen) and William Andrew McWatters (Kimberly); granddaughters, Madeline McWatters and Alexandra McWatters; and siblings, Joel, Roy, Robin, Chris, Cindy, Karen and Grace.
A celebration of Jean’s life will begin at 2 pm on Sunday, August 6, 2023, at the East Brookfield Baptist Church, 262 E. Main Street, East Brookfield, MA. There will also be an opportunity to celebrate Jean’s life in Newark, Delaware during the early fall although details are not known at this time.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Jean’s memory to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, P.O. Box 5014 Hagerstown, MD 21741 or online by clicking here.