We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Bruce R. Hawkins Funeral Home
Linda Elizabeth Watson-Patterson (née Watson) was born on March 30, 1960 in Philadelphia, PA to Doris Watson (née Harris) and Edward Watson Jr. The fifth of five children, Linda was an excellent student, thriving at Martha Washington Elementary School, Dimner Beeber Middle School, and then in Honors classes at Overbrook High School. After being awarded a Rohm and Haas Scholarship and other accolades for her academic achievements, she attended Drexel University, graduating with a Bachelors of Science in Chemical Engineering in 1983. Upon her graduation from Drexel, she began her career at Allied Signal. In 1987, after three years at Allied, she experienced two life changing events – she began a long career at Merck and had her first daughter, Laura.
At Merck, Linda hit the ground running. In 1991, less than two years after giving birth to her second daughter, Stephanie, she won an award for Outstanding Community Service. During this time, she also decided to go back to school, graduating with a Masters of Science in Technical and Science Communications from Drexel University in 1994. Her contributions at Merck over the 35 years of her career there led to incredible results for her team, and for the broader organization leading to her being named as one of Merck’s Most Amazing Women during her tenure. She retired in May of 2022 just as her battle with cancer took a turn.
Linda was a tinkerer and a fixer. Brilliant and curious, there were few mechanical puzzles she couldn’t figure out. There were even fewer creative pursuits she didn’t explore at one point or another – crochet, ceramics, glass blowing, wood etching, jewelry making and soap making…she did it all.
Linda adored art and beauty. She was particularly taken with abstract art; always keeping an eye out for a new artist to explore or a new piece to add to her collection. In addition to fine art, she enjoyed the hunt for fun thrifted finds with her friends with depression glass being one of her favorite items to scour for. She also liked music and dancing, and would never pass up the opportunity to dance, especially when Prince came on.
Spending time outside was yet another of Linda’s favorite pastimes. She loved walking, especially by Valley Green; making plans for and gardening in her yard; and spending time by the water, feeding ducks, plowing through a Sudoku or her favorite puzzle type du jour and occasionally spending time in quiet contemplation. Any time she could catch a storm or a rainbow gave her tremendous amounts of joy, as did catching a meal outside with friends.
Linda loved giving back, in ways big and small. Outside of work, she gave of her time, money, and energy frequently, running science programs for elementary and middle school students; volunteering with local nonprofits including JazzBridge, PASSi, the Girl Scouts and Treehouse Books; opening her home to young people in need of a place to stay; closing out educators’ DonorsChoose accounts; and in countless other ways. At work, she was known as a mother figure who would encourage and support her peers and employees.
Her spirituality and moral compass were cornerstones of her life. She believed in Christ and his teachings and both deeply influenced how she saw the world and treated others.
Linda is survived by two daughters who could not miss her more: Laura Patterson, MPA and Dr. Stephanie Patterson, DMD. She also leaves wonderful memories to her two sisters: Gwendolyn Whaley and Yvonne Watson, two brothers: Dennis E. Watson and Jerome Watson (Catherine), her former husband and the father of her children: Ronald E. Patterson, many nieces and nephews and a host of other beloved relatives and friends, all of whom cherish her deeply and share a commitment to honoring her legacy. She’s joining two of her favorite people in the afterworld: her mother Doris and grandmother Ethel Laura.
Our family humbly requests that in lieu of flowers or gifts, we ask you to make a memorial donation to Treehouse Books – a Giving Library and Literacy Center in North Philadelphia – in our dear mother’s honor. You can make a donation to Treehouse Books at https://bit.ly/MemorialDonationforLinda.