Historical photo
Dora Watson (front, center) is celebrating her 100th birthday on July 26. The picture was pulled from the Frazee Centennial and includes her family (from, front left) Ruth, Merilyn, (row 2) Pam and Carol, (row 3) Glenn Jr., Tom, her husband Glenn, Lowell and Pat.

Watson to celebrate her 100th birthday

The second oldest Hornet is ready to celebrate her 100th birthday this July.

Dora (Seitz) Watson was born in a farm house in July 1921 in Gorman Township where she spent her youth. Having 10 brothers and sisters was a struggle in a three-bedroom house; the girls had one bedroom, the boys had the second bedroom and the parents the third. 

Watson was baptized in Gorman Lutheran Church and confirmed in Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Frazee. She went to country school and then to Frazee High School in the late 1930’s. While in high school Watson was on the basketball team. 

Upon getting married, Watson and her husband Glenn lived in Detroit Lakes for a short time, but quickly came back to Frazee where they lived until the late 1960’s. During that time she saw the very friendly town grow, especially after World War II. The town had three grocery stores, four gas stations, four restaurants,a movie theater, two hardware stores, a drug store and many other businesses. Watson especially remembers Saturdays in Frazee. Saturday was when folks came to town after a week of working to unwind. They played bingo outside, went to the bowling alley or watched a town baseball game, watched a movie or listened to the high school band that circled, and blocked, main street and highway 81 in the early evening. 

Watson was always busy, she tells the story of when she was a cook at the high school, “every week we hand peeled potatoes for the hot lunch program.”

Then in the late 1960’s, her husband was going to go to Thief River Falls, Minn.  for about six months to help two farmers start a trucking company, then come back to Frazee. The trucking company got pretty successful, as it did all the freight for that new company hauling Artic Cat snowmobiles; Watson still lives in Thief River Falls. 

Into her early 90’s she was still driving a car and sewing and knitting-everyday. She knitted more than 300 mittens and hats for one of her granddaughters because she said the kids need mittens and hats. 

In mid-June Watson broke her leg and upon leaving the hospital to spend about six weeks in an extended-care facility. She asked her daughter to get her sewing machine delivered to the care center.

A birthday party to celebrate Watson’s 100 years is set to be held a week before her birthday, which is July 26, with about 70 family members expected to attend.

From the book: A 

Family History of 

the Seitz – Clan 1843-2003

Watson was born July 26, 1921. She and her husband had eight children: Ruth, Pat, Lowell, Tom, Pam, Carol, Merilyn and Glenn Jr. 

She was confirmed May 12, 1935, in the Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Frazee,  and baptized in the Gorman township church.

Watson is a very quiet soft-spoken woman who never complains or speaks ill of any other person, her child Lowell said. She once said, “that you should not brag about your kids because later they might disappoint you.”

Watson was known for being an excellent cook and seamstress. She has had many different hobbies and crafts.  She is always making things for her grandchildren. 

Jody Burrill has started a tradition of buying new pajamas every Christmas for her own kids, “because grandma always gave Watson pajamas for Christmas.” Of course, Watson always sewed them herself.

Buying or making Christmas presents is always a priority for her, Lowell Watson said.

“I remember one year she made large pillows for her kids,” he said. “They were about three feet by three feet and looked like they came out of the store. We still use ours and it must be 21-years-old. She also made stuffed loons that are gorgeous. Then there were the sweatshirts with the diamond cutouts. The table runners, the quilts, the wall hangings, the needlepoint, and who can forget the bears?”

He explained his mother and Kim Fanfulik decided to make the bears and their cubs for the kids for Christmas. They cut them out of quarter-inch, 4×8 sheets of plywood and painted them black.  

“One wonders what that project was like as they must have made over 21 of these large bears,” said Lowell Watson.

“Mother is an excellent baker and ‘canner,’ he noted. “Her caramel cinnamon rolls are out of this world. Her sugar cookies would just melt in your mouth.  How can we forget all of those crates of fresh peaches, bing cherries, raspberries, apricots, and pears she used to buy in the fall and then can? Pat used to eat a quart jar of these canned fruits at a sitting.”

When her kids were in school, it was common to have a Christmas or end-of- the-year classroom party. Each student was supposed to bring a treat for the class and several different teachers requested Watson’s popcorn balls.

“We celebrated mother’s 80th birthday in the summer of 2001 and it is a pleasure to know that she still volunteers her time at the Hospital in Thief River Falls and is a member of a church quilt group that makes quilts to donate to disadvantaged families,” Lowell Watson said. “Every year she drives 300 miles to Minnetonka, Minn. from Thief River Falls to visit her daughter Pam and her family.  Pam always has a project for her so the two of them are always busy. Mother likes to stay busy, active and productive.

Mother was pretty clever too,” he continued. “I remember when Holly and I got married, my aunt Lillian Evansen, gave us a collection of antique glasses. Being young, we were not into antiques and were sort of complaining to mother one day about these ugly glasses. Mother said, ‘if you don’t want them I would like them,’ so we gave them to her. As the years passed by, every time we went to visit, mother would bring out these glasses to serve a beverage to Holly and me. After many years of this, we started commenting, ‘these glasses are actually very nice.’ She said, ‘do you want them back now?’ So after about 20 years of her storing our glasses, we now have them in our home.”