Obituary: Erin Higgins Bell Watson

Erin Higgins Bell Watson

Erin Higgins Watson passed away on February 14, 2018, at her beloved ranch in Blanco County, Texas.

Erin Higgins Watson was born in Austin, Texas, on January 24, 1938, to C.L. “Ox” Higgins and Ezma Taylor Higgins.

Erin often reflected that she had lived a long and wonderful life, and that one of best parts was growing up in Austin in the 1940s and 1950s. Erin made many lifelong friends while attending the Public Schools of Austin. From Wooldridge, to University Junior High, to graduation from Austin High School in 1956. Erin then followed her Father and older brother to The University of Texas at Austin in 1956, where she earned her BS in Home Economics. Erin fully participated in student life and activities. These included Cheerleader, Red Jackets, Orange Jackets and Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority. 

In 1960 Erin married John L. Bell, Jr., a UT law student from Beaumont, Texas. After John L’s graduation, Erin moved to Beaumont with her newly born daughter Jean. Erin and John L. had four children. Erin also helped raise several nieces and nephews. 

Erin taught school after moving to Beaumont, but she always considered her primary role as someone who raised children to be proud of and providing a welcoming home for her family and the many friends she made there.

John L. predeceased Erin in 1992.

Erin married John Watson in 1994 and they have lived ever since at Loco Grande, her ranch on the banks of the Pedernales River. Erin and John traveled extensively both in the U.S. and to places they had always wanted to see including Egypt, Italy and whale watching and touching off the Baja peninsula. They spent many summers in Montana and she loved visiting the many National Parks they saw. One of her favorite memories was taking a raft-floating trip through the entire length of the Grand Canyon.

Erin was an accomplished Contract Bridge player, a pleasure she continued after moving to her beloved Hill Country. An avid reader she also enjoyed the fellowship of the book club in Johnson City with many of the friends she made there. She was a founding member of the Liberal Ladies Lunch Club in Blanco County.

During the past three months Erin felt fortunate to celebrate her traditional Thanksgiving Day lunch at the ranch with more than 35 of her family present, Christmas with the Watson grandchildren, and her 80th birthday with parties with her family and her friends. As always Erin’s winning personality, her good cheer, her resilience and, her perseverance provided a wonderful example in character for all her family and friends. 

Erin was predeceased by her parents; her infant daughter, Alane Bell; and her older brother, William Michael (Mike) Higgins. 

Erin is survived by her husband, John Watson; children, Jean Moncla (husband Dennis); Tracy Levinson (husband Bruce); and Pat Bell (wife Daphne). Erin was blessed with seven grandchildren, Michelle, Kelly, Josh (wife Anne–Marie), Caroline, John, Walker and Owen) whom she loved very much. She is also survived by her brother, Pat Higgins (wife Janis); and her sister, Alane Reid (husband Jack); John’s son, David (wife Kate) and their four children, (Stuart, Emma, Jane and Julia) who brought much pleasure into her life; many loving nieces and nephews, and the many friends she made throughout her life.

Erin and John are particularly grateful for the loving caregivers Elaine Hart and Carol Carpenter, Hill Country Memorial Hospice Services and the many dedicated medical professionals who helped her for the past 2½ years.

A gathering of Erin’s family and friends was Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, at her Johnson City residence. A memorial service for Erin will be 2 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 24, at Broussard’s, 2000 McFaddin Avenue, Beaumont. A gathering of family and friends will follow immediately after the service at Broussard’s Event Centre, 1775 Calder Ave., Beaumont. 

In lieu of flowers, Erin can be honored by a contribution to a favorite charitable organization.

Erin’s wish is that everyone remember her as the vibrant, loving, fun–loving, adventurous, smart, kind, and generous woman she was throughout her long and fulfilling life. And perhaps raise a glass in her honor.

Complete and updated information may be found at