Christine R Watson

christine watson

December 3, 1930 ~ November 11, 2023

Remembrance of Christine R. Watson Christine Rennaker Watson, 92, passed peacefully, surrounded by her loving family, at home on November 11, 2023. Born in Oil City, PA to Charles P. Rennaker and Evelyn Mary E. Longaker, on Dec. 3rd, 1930,twin sister to Marylin, and sister to Jean. She married her college sweetheart, William R. Watson, in 1952.

A gifted lyric soprano from a young age, Christine began her vocal studies as a teenager, including summers at spent Julliard's Chautauqua Institute. After a year at Lycoming College, she earned a BA in Voice from Syracuse University, as a member of Gamma Beta Phi sorority, where she met her husband, William. Christine married, moved to Leonia, and began raising four children, while continuing to pursue her musical career. She was a member of the Actor's Equity and SAG-AFTRA, performed in light opera, night clubs, on television, and on Broadway, in 1960's revival of Oklahoma at City Center. For Christine, the power of arts in the community was a passion that never dimmed. In a legacy spanning more than six decades, Christine would participate in the creation and definition of the local theater and performance world. A member of the Leonia Players Guild for over 60 years, Christine acted as President, board member, director and performer, and participated in over 70 productions, including "Plays in The Park.” Her final production was "The Melody Lingers On: A Tribute to Irving Berlin," at age 87. She also co-formed and founded Longaker Benefits Production Company, a non-profit with close friends Colin and Sydney Unsworth, presenting over a dozen musicals at the former John Harms Theater of Englewood (now known as BergenPAC). These high quality local productions supported Englewood Hospital, Tomorrow's Children's Fund, and The Van Out Institute. Christine and Helene Marshall also co-presented many musical theatre performances for Leonia High School throughout the 1970's and 1980's.

Her free time was dedicated to tennis, and her family, over her lifetime hosting five generations of relatives in both Leonia, and in the family summer home in Mantoloking, on the New Jersey shore. She is survived by her four children, William Christopher and his wife Noreen, Dawn Ann, Mark Andrew, and Jennifer Lee and her husband John, her seven grandchildren, William Patrick, Katherine, John, Avery, Dale, Liam, and Kelsi, and two great grandsons, Aidan and William Theodore. Her elegance was not her only trademark: grace and constancy were pillars of her life, and as deeply as she is missed, so shall she be remembered


Visitation: November 14, 2023 3:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Frank A. Patti & Kenneth Mikatarian F.D.
327 Main Street
Fort Lee, NJ 07024

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Memories Timeline


  1. Chris Watson: How many hours did we spend together in rehearsal, including the shows Chris directed at John Harms Center now BergenPAC in Engelwood? How many great times we spent at the home of Chris and Bill for after the show parties in Leonia close to the home of Alan Alda. Whenever a show that Chris was directing called for musicians, including myself, Chris would give me a call. And her direction was first class always. It was an honor to know her.
    Rod Ruth

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