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Gertrude Guiden Watson was born on January 3, 1923, in Kingston, Louisiana, near Shreveport, Louisiana to the parents of the Rev. James M. Guiden, Sr. and Lee Nora
Alexander Guiden, the fifth child of eight born to this union.
Gertrude accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior at the age of 13 at the annual church revival at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Kingston, Louisiana where she was a
member for many years during her youth and young adult life.
She attended Desoto Parish Training School in Mansfield, Louisiana where she graduated in May 1943. Following high school, in January 1944, Gertrude married the late Robert L. Watson, Sr. and moved to Camden, New Jersey and later to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
In 1951, Gertrude returned to her hometown of Shreveport and in 1968, she made Portland, Oregon her home until her death.
In Portland, Gertrude continued her life-long career as a superb worker in “domestic engineering” until she retired in 1999 having worked for a number of wonderful families throughout her career.
Gertrude united with the St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in North Portland in 1969 under the leadership of the late Rev. John L. Holliday and continued to serve in various roles faithfully under the leadership of Pastor James C. E. Faulkner where she was a Sunday school superintendent and supported the General Mission in various capacities.
In 1985, Gertrude moved from North Portland to Southwest Portland where she joined Christian Community Church under the leadership of Pastor Jim Andrew which was affiliated with New Song Community Church pastored by the Rev. Richard Probasco.
At the time of her death, she was an honorary member of NE Community Fellowship Church under the leadership of her nephew, Pastor George Merriweather.
On the occasion of her 90th birthday, in 2013, Dr. Warren H. Stewart, Sr., Senior Pastor of First Institutional Baptist Church in Phoenix, Arizona named Gertrude an honorary Century Club member of that congregation.
Gertrude loved visiting and fellowshipping with other churches wherever a car or bus would take her, as well as attending the weekly fellowship and interaction with those who attended the Portland Downtown Bible Study. She also attended funerals of countless friends, neighbors, and acquaintances, even attended the funerals of strangers, “just in case she knew them”.
She loved traveling and seeing many new places and was blessed to visit many cities where several of her children resided to include Houston, TX, Colorado Springs, CO, Philadelphia, PA, Atlanta, GA, Vista, CA, Oakland, CA, and Phoenix, AZ.
She had a magical brief journey to Las Vegas and saw many national monuments in the United States to include the Statue of Liberty, The Boardwalk in Atlantic City, the Grand Canyon, Mt. St. Helens Observatory and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center in Atlanta, Georgia. A trip to Mazatlán with her two sons, and many short jaunts to the Oregon Coast and the Seattle area gave her great pleasure, wonderful opportunities and fun adventures.
Whether traveling alone or with her children, other family members or friends, Gertrude’s adventurous spirit had no comparison. From an annual rodeo event in southern Oregon to the highest peak in Colorado, Gertrude was all in. This same adventurous spirit led her to call Phoenix, AZ. her “winter” home.
Gertrude loved family and attended all of her family reunions from Chicago to Atlanta to Los Angeles to Shreveport to Detroit to Houston and she bought every tee shirt to prove it!
She loved to walk for her exercise and became a member of the Raleigh Hills Racquet Club where she engaged in swimming exercises and other forms of exercise to stay fit. She had an immense love for hats whether it was a Sunday worship service or an ordinary day. Gertrude also knew a great pair of shoes when she saw them!
She never saw a fruit that she did not enjoy, plucking from a bush or tree while visibly enjoying every bite! Gertrude was also a grocery-shopping aficionada and coupon queen noting every sale every week throughout her life from food to clothing to household items as well as small to major appliances. She knew which store had a sale and she knew where the best sales were!
Gertrude was an avid reader and never missed reading the sage advice of “Dear Abby “and willingly shared clippings from the Oregonian and other papers or magazines that she thought would be a help to others. She could be relied upon to share a news article with you or a recipe that she clipped to make a dish for herself or for others. Gertrude truly enjoyed bringing joy to others in countless, quiet, and humbling ways.
On July 26, 2023, Gertrude Guiden Watson answered her call from her Heavenly Father for Eternity.
Preceding her in death were her parents, Rev.and Mrs. James M. Guiden, Sr., five sisters, Marsha L. Dinkins, Rosa Bell Carroll, Mattie D. Louis and Ella Merriweather Young and Lenora Guiden; one brother, Bernie Guiden; granddaughter, Lauren A. Watson and grandson, Levin Finley.
She leaves to cherish her memory: Sons, Dr. Robert L. Watson, Jr., Ph. D, J.D., (Justine), Phoenix, AZ, and Paul Michael Watson, Portland, OR. Daughters, Rev. Dr. Carolyn Watson, Phoenix, Arizona; Naomi Watson-Finley (N. Charles) of Vancouver, Washington and Suzanne Watson, Portland, Oregon. Brother, James M. Guiden, Jr. (Verdell) of Natchitoches, LA. Grandsons: Jason Finley (Laura) Oregon City, OR., Charles Jemel Finley (Courtney), Portland, OR. Granddaughter, Alethia Y. Finley, Los Angeles, CA. Great-grandsons, Jeremy Glover (Tameka), Los Angeles, CA.,
Cassius K. Finley, Levin C. Finley, 2nd., N. Charles J. Finley, Sr.. Great-granddaughters: Jaedakah G. Finley, Jaelynn J. Finley, Lola Finley. Great-great grandchildren: Abrielle Glover, N. Charles Jemel Finley, Jr.
Gertrude enjoyed being in the presence of her many nieces, nephews, grand and great nieces, and nephews as well as her many “adopted” sons and daughters, countless friends, neighbors, and many special friends within the Ruth Haefner Community in Raleigh Hills where she resided for 35 years.
Gertrude’s gracious, quiet, and kind spirit shall be forever remembered, and we will all miss her sweet spirit.
To God Be The Glory.