Thomas's Story

ORONO - Born May 2, 1924 in Cleveland, Ohio, Thomas Stoneman Watson spent most of his childhood in the village of Aurora, OH, then finished high school in Shaker Heights, OH. Upon graduating from high school in 1943, Tom enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in an Army Engineer pipeline company in France after the D-Day invasion.

Returning to Cleveland after the war, Tom attended Western Reserve University, earning his B.A. with a major in Theater Arts. He returned to Western Reserve twice, first completing his M.A., and in 1963 completing his Ph.D. Although Tom tried his hand at acting and appeared on stage at various times throughout his career, his interests and skills were primarily in the area of technical theater, particularly lighting and set design. His career included summers as Technical Director/Designer for the American Dance Festival held at Connecticut College where he worked with such modern dance greats as Martha Graham, Paul Taylor and Alvin Ailey. He taught on the faculties of Western Reserve University, SUNY at Buffalo and the University of Delaware, where he served as chairman of its Theater Department for six years.

In 1950, Tom married Lois Warnshuis, whom he met in New York City where they were both pursuing their theatrical careers. Together they raised two daughters, and enjoyed fifty-one years together until her death in 2001. Upon retirement, Tom and Lois moved to their house on Block Island, Rhode Island, which he had a major hand in building and renovating over the years. He kept busy and active fishing, gardening, working in community theater, singing with the Block Island Ecumenical Choir and serving as an EMT. Several years after Lois's death, Tom moved to Orono, Maine where he met Frances T Hunter who became his devoted partner and who made his last years at the Dirigo Pines Retirement Community some of the happiest of his life.

Tom is survived by his partner Frances; his sister, Kathryn Dauber of Wilton, CT; daughters Lise Foss and husband, Roger Cleghorn of Medford, MA and Susan Cavanaugh and husband, Wesley Cavanaugh of Cincinnati, OH; and granddaughter Sophie Caitlin Foss and partner Julianna Fiss of Brooklyn, NY.

The family would like to thank Beacon Hospice and the Arbor staff of Dirigo Pines.

A memorial service will be held at a later date. Gifts in Tom's memory may be made to the Church of Universal Fellowship, 82 Main St, Orono, ME 04473. Condolences to the family may be expressed at www.memorial-alternatives.com
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