Katherine Elizabeth Finch Watlington quietly passed away on June 23, 2020 after a two week battle with pneumonia. Katherine is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Stuart and Linda Watlington, her grandson, John Watlington, her granddaughter, Katherine Watlington Johnson and her husband, Kendall Johnson, and their two children, Hugo and Daria. She is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews, great nieces and great nephews, and beloved cousins. She is also survived by her sisters-in-law Sarah Lou Gunter, Jacksie Crossman, and Betty Watlington. She was predeceased by her beloved husband, J. Neal Watlington. She was also predeceased by her parents, Mark Daniel Finch and Selma Reynolds Finch of Danville, and her two brothers, Mark Daniel Finch, Jr. and Harold Finch.
She was known for her intellect, her warmth, her faith in Christ and her genuineness. She stood for Christianity, equality, and love. She spent her entire life giving, encouraging, and complementing and supporting others. She so loved America. During her childhood she had had two older brothers overseas during World War II. Subsequently, she married a World War II Veteran, her beloved Neal. She sadly had to part company with Neal when he passed away less than six months ago. They were married for 67 years.
Born in 1931, Katherine, a graduate of George Washington High School, began working in local banks in Danville as a Bank Teller. Subsequently, she and Neal, owned and operated Watlington’s Department Store and Watlington’s Farm Center in Yanceyville for approximately 50 years. Their store carried hardware, sporting goods, hunting and fishing goods, feed, seed, fertilizer, lawn and garden needs, paint, and men’s and women’s clothing. Katherine’s “Ladies’ Department” was known for women’s apparel that drew a large following. Katherine’s employees and customers of the ladies’ department were like her extended family, and she loved them dearly. The employees at Watlington’s Department Store and Watlington’s Farm Center exhibited the same kindness and care as Neal and Katherine did towards their customers. The Watlington’s employees were not just employees, they were family to Katherine and Neal.
Katherine was an avid worker, volunteer and supporter of the Yanceyville and Caswell County communities. She served on the Founding Board of Directors and as a Member of the Distribution Committee of The Community Foundation of the Dan River Region from 1996-2002. She and Neal were presented with the Pioneer Award in 2001 by the Recreational Development Foundation, Inc. of Caswell County. She served on the Town of Yanceyville Future Development Board. Katherine also served on the Board of the Caswell Council for the Arts from 1988-1997 and again from 1999-2008. Katherine also served as the pianist for the Yanceyville Rotary Club and volunteered at the Caswell County Historical Museum. She was the 1993 President of the Caswell County Chamber of Commerce and the 1984 recipient of the Caswell County Outstanding Woman in Agriculture Award.
Katherine was never too busy to give her warm smile, encouragement and support to others in need. She was just one of those people that made everyone smile when she walked into the room. She spent every day of her life encouraging and helping others.
An accomplished musician, Katherine was known for the beautiful music she provided for over 30 years to her cherished Yanceyville Presbyterian Church every Sunday, as the Church organist. She enjoyed playing golf with her friends in the Caswell Pines Women’s Golf Association, working with her flowers, cooking, but primarily doing anything she could for her family.
At age 80, in 2012, Katherine, not one to sit around, went back to work as a Bookkeeper for Scott & Watlington, PA, a Certified Public Accounting Firm owned by her daughter-in-Law Linda, and Barbara Scott, in Yanceyville. She greatly enjoyed it, and worked part time until she became ill.
Loving, caring, supporting, and uplifting her community, friends, and family were part of Katherine’s daily routine, and her smile will never be forgotten. She was a caring and gracious Lady.
The family extends its gratitude and love to: Dr. Stephan Jannach of Danville; Amy Woods; Ann Puddin Terry; Reverend Jimmy Davis; David and Lea Wilson; the entire Yanceyville Presbyterian Church congregation; Dr. Edward Hawkins, and the other wonderful Doctors and Nurses of The Annie Penn/Cone Health Hospital Intensive Care Unit in Reidsville.
Arrangements are entrusted to Harrelson Funeral Services of Yanceyville, North Carolina.
Arrangements for a Memorial Service will be made in weeks or months to come. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, any donations be made to the Yanceyville Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 207, Yanceyville, NC 27379; the Caswell Parish, P.O. Box 967, Yanceyville, NC 27379; or the Caswell County Veterans Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 176, Yanceyville, NC 27379.