Emily Watts

Emily Watts

CHAMPAIGN – Emily Ann Stipes Watts of Champaign and Fennville, Mich., died on Monday (March 12, 2018) in Urbana.

Born March 16, 1936, in Champaign, she was the daughter of Royal Arthur Stipes Jr. and Virginia Louise Schenck Stipes. She married Robert Allen Watts on Aug. 30, 1958, in Champaign. He preceded her in death in 2012.

She is survived by Edward Stipes Watts (Stephanie) of East Lansing, Mich.; daughter-in-law, Judith Argentieri; as well grandchildren, Anton Watts of East Lansing, Mich., Alexander Watts of Chicago and Olivia Watts and Samuel Watts of Champaign.

Her nieces and nephews include Virginia Bartholow Holder and husband, Daniel Holder, of Champaign; Ford Bartholow and wife, Cynthia Bartholow, of Bluffton, S.C.; Gwendolyn Watts Zemanski and husband, Richard Zemanski, Kingsville, Md.; Richard Watts and wife, Lisa Watts, Atlanta, Ga.; Robert Richard Dawson and wife, Kim of Richmond, Va.; Amy Dawson Zoller of Westport, N.Y.; and Beth Dawson McAlhany of Greensboro, N.C.; as well as great-nephews, great-nieces and three great-great-nieces and one great-great-nephew. She is also survived by sisters-in-law, Sally Dawson and Joan Watts of Atlanta, Ga.

She was preceded in death by her sister, Babette Stipes Bartholow and brother-in-law, Otho Bartholow.

As a full professor of English at the University of Illinois, Mrs. Watts served the campus as chair of the Athletic Board and Board of Control and was a member of Task Force, which brought women athletes into the Big Ten. She was the first woman on the Campus Research Board and, later, chair of the committee of the Status of Women. She also served as chair of the Faculty Senate Council. At the state level, she served as chair of the Faculty Advisory Committee to the Illinois Board of Higher Education. Her scholarly work included books on Ernest Hemingway and the history of poetry by American women.

Professionally, she was a member of the Archaeological Institute of the America; Authors Guild of the Authors League of America; Association of Literary Scholars, Critics and Writers; Emily Dickinson International Society; and Philadelphia Society. Other memberships include the UI Foundation; the UI Foundation President's Council; Kappa Alpha Theta; Champaign Country Club; Saugatuck (Michigan) Yacht Club; Douglas (Michigan) Lake Shore Association, on whose board of directors she served; and Lake Michigan Shore Association, on whose board of directors she served. She was a member of First Presbyterian Church, Champaign.

Private graveside services will be held. In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, donations in her memory could be given to the University of Illinois Library-Robert and Emily Watts Fund, the University of Illinois Foundation, Harker Hall, Urbana, Illinois 61801; or to First Presbyterian Church, 302 W. Church St., Champaign; or to a charity of the donor's choice.

Online condolences and fond memories can be shared with her family at www.morganmemorialhome.com.