Dr. Sharon Ann Watson, 70, of Harvest, Alabama, died in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, on Thursday, February 18, 2021, after an extended illness. Funeral services are scheduled for Saturday, February 27, 2021, at 12 noon, with visitation at 11 a.m., at Legacy Chapel Funeral Home in Madison, Alabama, with interment following at Huntsville Memory Gardens. Deacon Dan Laurita of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church will officiate.
Dr. Watson was a brilliant scientist who was well-known for her Cold-War work for the United States Department of Defense in chemical and biological weapons defense. She was awarded the Department of Defense Medal of Honor for identifying toxins being used by enemy forces over Cambodia during the Vietnam Conflict. She served the Department of Defense at Fort Detrick, Maryland, and later served as Principal Scientist for Allied Research Associates, Inc., in Huntsville, Alabama, until her retirement.
A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Dr. Watson graduated from Ensley High School and received Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Microbiology from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. She then received her Ph.D. degree in Toxicology and Pharmacology from the University of Mississippi in Jackson.
Dr. Watson was preceded in death by her parents, Leonard Grady and Patricia Brislin Watson, and brothers Marshall Thomas Watson (“Pete”) and John Patrick Watson (“Pat”). She is survived by her sister Mary Jacq Watson Easley of Brandon, Mississippi, and brother William Brislin Watson (“Bill”) of Pontotoc, Mississippi, as well as a host of nieces and nephews.
Dr. Watson was well-known in both Maryland and Alabama for her legendary Halloween parties, which attracted colleagues from around the world. Playing on her specialty of toxicology, she decorated her house year-round for Halloween, including skeletons, body parts, and ghastly creatures. She had a wicked sense of humor, for which she was widely loved and will be greatly missed.