Jennifer Disney, Ph.D
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Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Mary Carolyn was the youngest child of Elizabeth and John Tatum, both South Carolinians. The family moved back to Bamberg, South Carolina in 1943, where Mary Carolyn graduated as her high school class valedictorian. She graduated cum laude from Columbia College in 1953 with a BA in piano and music education. She was elected “Most Womanly" and was named in Who's Who in American Universities and Colleges. After graduation, she taught piano in the Columbia College Pre-College Music Department for three years.
Mary Carolyn married Michael Watson in September, 1956 and settled in Bamberg. Michael practiced medicine for 32 years and was Director of the Bamberg Health Department for 20 years.
During those years. Dr. and Mrs. Watson raised six children: Mary Beth, Michael, Carolyn, Joseph, John and Aurelia. Although she was interested in teaching music, Mary Carolyn's greatest desire was to serve as mother full-time. She and her husband supported and participated in the activities of each of their children. She also invested in the lives of many other children in Bamberg through church, school and community activities. This led to many opportunities to serve in leadership roles such as Family Life Coordinator and member of the Administration Board and the Music Committee at Trinity United Methodist Church. She also served as President of the Bamberg Hospital Auxiliary and the Apollo Music Club and as a member of Columbia College Alumnae Club, the State Textbook Selection Committee, the Bamberg County Arts Commission, and the Parents' Advisory Committee for Wofford College.
As part of their philosophy on parenting, Dr. and Mrs. Watson believed that children must be surrounded with love, reared with discipline, taught compassion, and provided with a value system. This philosophy's goal is to raise children who grow to be self-reliant, secure, and capable adults with compassion for others.
Oral History | United States History | Women's History
Watson, Mary Carolyn, "Interview with Mary Carolyn Watson" (2015). South Carolina Mother of the Year Oral History Archives. 3.