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Remembering Leah Watson (1933-2022)

Leah Watson P ’83, ’88, former Harley faculty member and Harley parent, worked at the school from 1973 to 1987. During those years she was the school’s in-house specialist for students with learning challenges. She diagnosed students’ difficulties, referred them for outside help, and often tutored them herself in her little office in the Lower School.

Leah died at the Jewish Home in Brighton on July 10, 2022. The photograph shows Leah at right with two cherished colleagues, the late Joy Moss (Lower School librarian, 1969-2015, seated) and Jane Parsons (longtime Grade 4 teacher, 56-57, 61-85, Drama 85-1995, standing). A memorial gathering for Leah took place in Harley’s Wilson Theater on July 29.

“Mrs. Watson was able to help me use my strengths to overcome my challenges in reading, and that put me on a path towards becoming a history major and social studies teacher,” said Jonathan Lederer ’88. “She truly helped me to ‘become what thou art’ and to be everything that I could potentially be.”

Aside from her work in special education, Leah published poetry widely, including both her own work and translations from Yiddish (which was her parents’ native language). She is survived by her daughter Elisa Watson ’83 of Ann Arbor, Michigan, her son Ian Watson ’88 of Burtenbach, Germany, and four grandchildren.

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