Edith Barisano Watson
1929 – 2020
Edith (Ida/Edie) Barisano Watson, 90, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on September 2, 1929. She passed away peacefully on August 12, 2020 from heart failure in Savannah, Georgia.
Edie was a first generation American. Her parents, Tullietta Magnacca Barisano and Francesco Barisano, emigrated from Campobasso Province, Italy through Ellis Island between 1914-1926.
They settled in East Liberty, Pittsburgh, later purchasing a home in West View. Edie graduated from West View High School and immediately began work as a switchboard operator. Her late brothers, Nick and Leo Barisano, served in the U.S. Army and Navy in WWII and were gifted wartime storytellers and jokesters. While Nick, Leo and wife Marie remained in West View, Edie and her sister Mary married, raised families and moved often.
Edie met her husband, Don L. Watson, on a downtown elevator in Pittsburgh. Don, who returned after service in the Navy to attend Robert Morris College said, “he was hit by lightning when he first laid eyes on her.” Don’s expansive steel industry career resulted in many family moves in the 50’s-60’s including Ellwood City, PA; Youngstown, OH; Hawthorne, NJ; Chicago, IL; St. Louis, MO; and Dallas, TX. The family size expanded as well with a son and daughter born in the 50’s, and two daughters in the mid-60’s. They put down roots at bucolic Lake Cable near Canton, OH, where they remained for 32 years.
Edie served as Lake Cable Assoc. Pres., notably organizing the 1976 Bicentennial Celebration and community parades. She was the bookkeeper for the family business, Watson Sales, Inc., for 30 years. A fantastic cook and baker, Edie extended the Italian tradition of gathering around the table hosting family celebrations; plus plenty of the kids’ friends over the years with her signature rigatoni and meatballs.
In 1981, Edie and Don fell in love with Hilton Head Island, SC, becoming one of the earliest property owners in Moss Creek Plantation. In 1997, they pulled up midwest roots, moving permanently to Moss Creek, acclimating readily to Low Country life. The couple continued work-related travels capped with multiple trips to Alaska and Hawaii giving them 50-state bragging rights as well as most of North America.
A gifted soprano, Edie joined the Hilton Head Choral Society in the early aughts and performed with the group in Hilton Head, plus European tours in Austria, Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic. Edie started helping with nonprofits like Memory Matters and the American Heart Association. Known for her compassion, she always found time to write a thank-you note or help others in need. If you mentioned a hole in your sock, a few days later, like magic, a box of brand new socks appeared on your doorstep.
Edie will be remembered for her impeccable sense of style, skilled value-seeking shopping, generosity, and for conjuring up occasions to bring her far-flung family together like the many memorable road trips to Pittsburgh for holiday dinners; a 50th anniversary in Jamaica; Christmas in LA; a birthday on Mackinac Island or a mountain home reunion in Asheville, NC. Edie was a relaxed traveler who instilled a sense of place wherever she landed.
Edith Watson is survived by sister Mary Cotton; son Don Watson, Jr.; daughters and sons-in-law, Patrice Watson, Julie Watson & Gregory Jones; Lisa D. Watson & Don Sanders; (5) grandchildren including Emma Chaney, Ava Chaney, Julie Chaney Fiktus, Gregory Jones II, and Ethan Jones; nephew and wife, David Cotton & Susan Grandy; nieces and husband, Carol & Richard Hendrix; Connie Cotton; beloved cousins, Angela Rizzuti and Eddie Barisano, her many cherished friends, neighbors, and her sweet Shih Tzu, Star.
The best way to honor her memory is to vote on November 3rd. Edie instilled civic responsibility in her descendants to make your voice heard.
Donations in her memory can be made to When We All Vote , a voter registration organization; Renegade Paws Rescue; or The Hilton Head Choral Society, the longest-running performing arts organization in Hilton Head.
Condolences at Families First Funeral Care & Cremation Center. A celebration of life event will be held to honor Edie once the pandemic has passed.Print This Obituary & Condolences