Watts, Rita A.
Rita A. Watts, 65, of Bettendorf, died Wednesday, April 18, 2012, at Genesis Medical Center, East Rusholme Street, Davenport. Services and Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, April 21, at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, 1506 Brown St., Bettendorf. Visitation will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at Weerts Funeral Home, Kimberly at Jersey Ridge Road, Davenport. Burial will be at Davenport Memorial Park.
Rita was born in 1946 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to James and Carmen Watts. She married Dr. W. David McEchron on Dec. 27, 1977, in Kansas City, Mo. With her master’s degree in education she worked for 35 years in education as a teacher and administrator. She also derived great satisfaction in her roles with the Genesis Health System board of directors, Bettendorf Library Foundation and Family Resources. She was a member of Our Lady of Lourdes, Bettendorf.
Rita was a mother, wife, amateur chef, and avid runner, winning many races in her age group.
Rita was a pioneer in Bilingual and English as a Second Language education. She began her career teaching in elementary schools in the Pleasant Valley School District and later went on to work at the University of Iowa. She then moved to the Davenport Public School District, where she worked until retirement, as a classroom instructor, coordinator of foreign language and ESL programs, and eventually as director of human resources. Then after retirement she returned part time as coordinator of school nurses.
Rita’s membership on various boards within the Genesis Health System was her greatest source of pride. She also served on many other boards and special committees in the community, including the Davenport Civil Rights Commission, Family Resources, Student Hunger Drive Scholarship Selection board, and Davenport Bank Minority Scholarship Program.
She received the State of Iowa Latino Leadership Award in 2000, and was inducted into the Phi Delta Kappa honors society. She received many other awards as well on both state and national levels.
Rita was at her best with her family as a mother and wife. She encouraged, educated, supported, and guided them. She took great pride in her children and their lives. The joy of grandparenting was her most recent focus and pleasure.
Survivors include her husband, David; daughter, Christine McEchron-Hills (John) of Olathe, Kan.; sons, Matthew (Shonu) McEchron of Laramie, Wyo., and Johnathan (Heidi) McEchron and William Daniel McEchron, both of Iowa City; grandchildren, Carmen Hills, Jaithan and Veda McEchron; and brothers, Ralph Myers of Cedar Rapids and Robert Watts of Florida.
She was preceded in death by her parents.
Rita’s family wishes to extend special thanks to Genesis Health System, Dr. Edwin Motto, Dr. Joe Lohmuller and Dr. David Mercer.
Memorials may be made to Genesis Health System Foundation.
Online condolences may be expressed to Rita’s family by visiting her obituary at www.WeertsFH.com.
Published April 20, 2012 in The Gazette