Emma Lois Watts, 80, daughter of the late Ernest and Viola Shives Watts, was born in Iredell County, N.C., on August 28, 1940. She received her wings and transitioned from life to eternity on Monday September 21, 2020, at Iredell Memorial Hospital in Statesville, N.C., after a brief illness. She was preceded in death by her brother, Ernest Alfred Watts Jr.; her parents; and several other family members.

Emma was a 1958 graduate of Morningside High School in Statesville. She also attended Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, N.C. She was employed by and later retired from Carolina Mills.

Emma was also active in the Civil Rights Movement. She and her brother Billy Watts participated in a sit-in at Howard-Johnsons restaurant counter on August 31, 1962, and were both arrested and put in jail. The anniversary of the protest was recently featured in the August 30, 2020, edition of the Statesville Record & Landmark.

At an early age, Emma joined Holsey Memorial CME Church, where she was a junior stewardess and a junior usher. She continued to be actively involved in her church, serving as a member of the Missionary Society, the Senior Choir and the Shives Fellowship Choir. Her civic organizations included the Skyland Banner Elks Temple and the Garfield Senior Citizens Club. She was an avid bowler and loved to read and travel.

Cherishing her memory is her bother, Billy Lewis Watts of Statesville; her niece, Tammy Sawyer of Statesville; her nephews, William Louis “Billy” Watts of Aurora, Colo., and Russell (Valerie) Watts of Ayers, Mass.; two great nieces, Shanta Sawyer and Naomi Watts; two great nephews, William Louis Watts II and David Franklin Watts; one aunt, Beulah Mack of Statesville; sister-in-law, Mary Agnes of Statesville; and a host of cousins, family, friends and her church family at Holsey Memorial CME Church.

Celebration of Life Services will be conducted on Saturday, September 26, 2020, at 12 noon at Rutledge and Bigham Funeral Home. Reverend Barbara McCollum will officiate.

Visit the Book of Memories for Ms. Watts at www.rutledgeandbigham.com. Rutledge and Bigham Funeral Home is serving the Watts Family.

Rutledge and Bigham Funeral Home is serving the family.

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