Patricia Rose Mitchell “Patsy Watson”

Age 89, of Holt, MI, went home to be with her Lord Jesus Christ on Tuesday, July 6, 2021.  She died peacefully surrounded by her loving family, hand-in-hand with her two sons. Patricia was born on October 9, 1931 in Lansing, Michigan to Ivy (Fairweather) and Kenneth Watson, formerly of Cambridge, England.

Although born in Lansing, Patricia returned to her English roots with her parents and four siblings prior to the onslaught of WWII, traveling on the Queen Mary.  It was in Cambridge that she discovered a love and passion for dance and achieved numerous certifications including: M.R.A.D. from London, England, A.S.I.T.D. in Musical Comedy, Tap and Ballroom, and a Teacher’s Certificate of Cecchetti Method of Classical Ballet.  Patricia is also a former member of the Cecchetti Council of America.

Following the war, Patricia’s family returned to Lansing where she opened The Patsy Watson School of Dance in 1950; one of the first studios in Lansing, and the training ground for dance teachers of numerous other studios. Patsy found immense joy and purpose in sharing the love and discipline of dance with thousands of children and families throughout her 70-year teaching career. Her love of dance and family was only superseded by her love for Jesus. Whether she was teaching a dance routine, taking care of her own children, or helping a neighbor in need, she infused everything she did with the eternal hope of Jesus Christ.

Patricia was preceded in death by her former husband, Thomas Bird Mitchell, her daughter, Rhonda Rose Mitchell Bryan, and siblings, Tony Watson, Dallas Watson, and Anita (Watson) Forman.  She is survived by her sons, Thomas Bird Mitchell III (Nancy) and Jerome Kenneth Mitchell (Amy), her older sister, Pamela Dunworth, eight grandchildren, Jenna, Emily, Matthew, Vanessa, Ronny, Katherine, Andrew, Anna, and ten great-grandchildren, Grace, Liam Owen, Wyatt, Wesleigh-Kate, Moses, Jonah, Lola, Ivey, and Grayson.

A Celebration of Patricia’s Life will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 13, 2021, at South Lansing Christian Church, 6300 N. Aurelius Rd., Lansing, MI, with visitation beginning at 12:00 p.m.  A graveside committal will follow at Maple Ridge Cemetery in Holt.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to: “Joshua and Caleb Leadership Center” in Brecksville, OH, or visit: https://joshuacalebleaders.org/make-a-financial-investment/. Arrangements are by the Estes-Leadley Holt/Delhi Chapel.

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19 Messages to “Patricia Rose Mitchell “Patsy Watson”

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Greg Forman
July 8, 2021 at 9:58 am

Patsy has her reward, being with Christ our Savior, but her many rewards are not yet hers because there are lives she is still impacting through generations being effected even now for Christ. Prayers she offered up are still producing much fruit today even in her absence. She was faithful. Her rewards are many.

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Susan Burtch Tabor
July 8, 2021 at 12:00 pm

I took lessons at Patsy’s studio from age 6 through high school graduation. Such wonderful memories. Now she is dancing in Heaven, along with her beautiful daughter, Rhonda. May God provide comfort and peace to her family during this bittersweet time.

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Jerry Mitchell
July 20, 2021 at 9:07 am

To all who have taken the time to write a beautiful comment regarding my mother… Thank you so very very much. The stroke of a pen is a powerful tool. It can enlighten, equip, empower and encourage. May God gift all of you with a growing and endearing love of Jesus as he did my mom. Your beautiful words have encouraged me. Thank you

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Kathy Briggs-Jones
July 8, 2021 at 2:55 pm

My thoughts and prayers go out to the family. Patsy taught me and my sisters dance. We started at age 5 and took it until we were teenagers
My daughter’s also took dance lessons from patsy. She was a wonderful person and excellent dance teacher. She will be missed!

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Mary Joseph
July 8, 2021 at 5:44 pm

I am so sorry to hear of Patsy’s passing. My Daughter took Dance from Patsy and Rhonda until we moved in 1994. They both were amazing Women. Dance with the Angels in Heaven Patsy. You will be missed. So glad to know Vanessa that you will keep her dance school going.

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Nancy and Roberta Smith
July 8, 2021 at 7:19 pm

We are sad to hear of our favorite dance teacher Patsy has left us. We are sure she is enjoying the sngels in heaven, she surely was a angel on earth and will be truly missed.

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The Ostrander Family
July 8, 2021 at 8:06 pm

Ms. Patsy was such an amazing dancer and role model for so many. Two of my daughters faced under Party’s expertise. I’m so sorry to her family for their loss.
The Ostrander Family

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Gordon McMann
July 9, 2021 at 9:32 am

My tap and acrobat lessons from Patsy were some of the happiest memories from my childhood. May she dance with the Angels! Peace and God Bless.

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Denise (Gavin) Proper
July 9, 2021 at 4:05 pm

The world of dance has lost a wonderful teacher and mentor and heaven has gained a beautiful angel. Patsy was my mentor and teacher from the age of 8 when I transferred my classes to her from her sister Anita. I was honored as a young dancer to perform with Rhonda in a few recitals. Much of the person I am today and my love of dance is due to her influence. Peace and love to her family. Until we meet again.

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Melinda (Devine) Marsh
July 9, 2021 at 7:24 pm

So many memories of this very sweet lady
who had the patience of a saint. Always dance discipline with love and kindness. I started dance at 3 or 4, continued into high school, and continued on with my daughters. Reading this saddens me but I know she’s in a wonderful place. May she Rest In Peace.

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Vicki Dase Wilcox
July 9, 2021 at 8:25 pm

When I was a student at Lansing Eastern High School, Patsy hired me for after school piano playing at her studio and for two recitals. I was to have the privilege of witnessing, first-hand, a truly gifted, kind and accomplished instructor to many students (including my youngest daughter who many years later became one of Patsy’s students while in her high school years). Kristin’s love of theatre and dance continued into college and continues to this day as a high school teacher (English, theatre and drama) in Montana. I am now 82 years of age and will be forever thankful for the influence Patsy had in my life and that of my baby girl, Kristin, now 49 and still dancing and active in community theatre.

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Lesley (Krauss) Harris
July 10, 2021 at 1:47 pm

I took ballet lessons from Patsy and Rhonda from ages 4-22. Patsy’s passion for dance was always evident. She never expected perfection but always demanded hard work and attention to detail with a good dose of patience. Patsy never gave up on you! Many of the lessons I learned about diligence and perseverance came from her. Dance lessons with Patsy and Rhonda are some of my favorite childhood memories. May she rest in peace alongside her daughter.

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Leslie Watson
July 10, 2021 at 8:44 pm

It is with deep gratitude to our Lord that Patsy and her children all came to know him. I was her sister-in-law who admired her and her dedication to teaching and how she passed this on to Rhonda, and Vanessa.

How we grieve yet with hope in our Risen Lord and Savior. My mother-in-law, Ivy, died knowing our Savior and expressed her concern for her children and grandchildren to know the Lord, too. It is with gratitude to God’s blessing of answered prayers to see what each one had become in Christ Jesus.

Patsy impacted many lives in her lifetime. She always made the best of everything and gave her all for others. The last words to her brother, Tony, spoke of God’s love and gracious gift and he responded. I was so grateful to hear his response of his acknowledgment of his need and how he loved Jesus. If it wasn’t for Patsy, I wouldn’t have known the answered prayers for my former husband.

God bless each one with his great love and comfort to each family member and friend.

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Carrie Brady
July 11, 2021 at 3:18 am

As a young girl, I fell in love with dance and performing under Patsy’s tutelage in the mid 70’s. Growing up, I continued to dance at Eastern HS as a student and then later as the drama teacher/theatre director. I performed on that stage in the Jon Young Auditorium with Patsy’s classes for 4 years, she even had me sing at my last recital. I’m very sorry to hear of her passing, but I know she’s in a much better place with Jesus – and all of her pupils will one day dance again with her.

Prayers for your family,
Carrie Brady

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Camie Fillion
July 11, 2021 at 7:58 pm

Many beautiful memories at my home away from home ! Patsy’s Studio was a very important part of my life ! She taught me respect and the love for dance ! A beautiful women with a beautiful heart , you will be missed ! Love you always !

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Suzanne Davis Courtney
July 12, 2021 at 6:45 pm

I spent a little time throughout the past 20+ years with Patsy when she was visiting with her sister, Pam. Pam and I share the “Grandmother” title in the Dru and Laura Dunworth family with their children, Jack and Shane. I remember Patsy’s sparkling eyes and gentle smile along with a genuine sweetness. I met her daughter, Rhonda, again last year when they were visiting family in Austin. I knew Patsy’s depth of sadness in losing a child. Pam adored her sister and will miss her terribly, but her family here in Austin will watch over her. I never realized the extent of Patsy’s dance training and expertise but knew of Pam’s. My prayers for healing go forward to her family. She certainly left a wonderful legacy and mark on the world.

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George F. Smith, MD
July 13, 2021 at 10:37 am

I had the distinct privilege of serving as Patsy’s family physician for over 40 years. Patsy was an amazing person, and a very talented one, as well. Everyone at the office loved Patsy. She demonstrated endless energy and was always upbeat. Such a gracious human being. Her strong faith served her well through the trials and tribulations of life. I loved talking to her and listening to her distinct accent. She loved her family, and she loved life. Patsy will be greatly missed.

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Danielle Finney (Brown)
July 13, 2021 at 4:05 pm

I will forever have the fondest memories of Patsy and the time I spent as her student at the dance studio through the 90’s. Pasty was a woman of faith who lit up the room. She always carried a kind grace about her, yet firm to teach us discipline on the dance floor. I remember being sent out to pull my bangs back; a custom her students are all familiar with, and I remember her encouraging words when I would get the dance combination just right. It was an honor to learn dance from her, an honor to represent her in the recitals year after year, and I always think of her still every time I catch myself in every day life pointing my toes seemingly automatically. : ) It is in these small yet polished details in life she will live on through the lives of the people and dancers she influenced in such a meaningful way. She not only taught us how to dance, she taught us how to be good people. Love and hugs to all of the extended Watson and Mitchell family,
Danielle Finney (Brown)

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Carol Hazel Perry
July 24, 2021 at 8:16 pm

Patsy was an icon in the Lansing area. She touched so many lives through her teaching and inspired people to learn the art of dance and even follow in her footsteps of teaching. I never had her as my teacher (I had Miss Anita) but I loved going to her studio from 4-12 years old and have many fond memories of being there. What a wonderful legacy of dance and her love for Jesus.

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