A day for remembering

  • Fred and Hope Watson spend time doing maintenance and putting flowers at the graveside of their son Walter Watson at the Santa Rosa Memorial Park on Sunday May 26, 2013 (Scott Manchester/The Press Democrat)

It was Sunday and Fred and Hope Watson were in the section of Santa Rosa Memorial Park Cemetery called Garden of Peace, near the park's south edge.

The granite gravestone in the ground beside them was 1-foot by 3-foot. It read:

Walter Dean Watson

Memorial Day In Santa Rosa


Beloved Son to Fred & Hope

Beloved Brother to Debra, Lori & Curt


In its lower left corner was a pair of engraved hands clasped in prayer on the lower left corner.

"It's my son. He died in 1986, from a drug overdose," Fred Watson said. "He was 25."

Walter was the middle child and he was born in Brawley, Imperial County, the year before the family moved to Santa Rosa.

When the couple left the cemetery, after about 45 minutes, Fred Watson, 75, carried in a plastic Wal-Mart shopping bag a white towel striped in blue and brown and a pair of scissors. Mrs. Watson, 74, moved gingerly, leaning on a four-wheeled walker.

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