Watkins, Elise V.

January 21, 2004

ELISE VALERIE GETTIER was born in Baltimore, Maryland, June 17, 1914. After her prep school days at Roland Park Country School she attended Smith College from which she graduated in 1936 Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. She spent her Junior year at the Sorbonne in Paris. Elsie continued her studies at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. There she met her husband James T. Watkins, IV. They were married in 1938. After Jim's discharge from the U.S. Navy in 1946 the Watkins' returned to Palo Alto, and Jim joined the Stanford faculty as assistant professor of Political Science. Their home in Professorville, where they shared their lives with so many friends and students, is the same in which Elise died peacefully, with loved ones at her side, January 11, 2004. For many years Elise was an active volunteer at Allied Arts. But in 1954 the career that she loved, and which enriched a multitude of lives, began. Through 1970 she regularly escorted groups of Stanford students for summers in Europe. She served as travel counselor for Sequoia Travel Center housed in Tresidder Union until 1985, and organized and led tours for the Committee for Art at Stanford for more than two decades. Characterized as a "walking encyclopedia", she loved to teach as well as travel, and her legacy will live long in those who sought her counsel. Following her tenure at Sequoia she founded Watkins Ward Travel. She retired at the age of 85 to her Emerson Street home in Professorville, that was a home away from home for generations of Stanford students. An avid gardener and gourmet cook she delighted in entertaining her friends of all ages. The establishment of the James T. Watkins, IV and Elise V. Watkins Professorship in the School of Humanities and Sciences and the first appointment to this distinguished Chair was celebrated in October at Stanford. Elise is survived by many beloved friends, godchildren and namesakes. Jim predeceased Elise in 1982. Other survivors include nieces and nephews, Eleanor Watkins Lanye of Dallas, TX, Dr. Robert Preston Watkins, Jr. of Port Angeles, WA, Jennifer Watkins Bales of San Jose, CA, Harry S. Watkins, Jr. of San Diego, CA, Virginia Watkins Green of Olympia, WA, Richard R. Jones, Fred Jones and Beth Jones Elkins, all of Baltimore, MD. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Professorship Fund are appreciated. Please direct correspondence to Stephen Player, Office of Development, Stanford, CA 94305. Email splayer@stanford.edu or tel: 650-725-5509 or a gift may be made to the Elizabeth Gamble Garden Center, 1431 Waverly Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301. A Memorial Service will be held on March 3 at 4:00 PM at the Faculty Club on the Stanford University Campus. Arrangements by Bay Area Cremation and Funeral Services, 650-365-3909.

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