“Bursting with joy” and an abundance of peace, our sweet Mama Yin is now “dancing for the audience of One.” Mama Yin reached out and took Jesus’ hand in the early morning hours on Friday, July 16, 2021, surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses and her beloved family.

Yin Yin Lam Watson was born in Ipoh, Malaysia, on Feb. 1, 1947, to Soo Fat and Siew Lin “Amelia” Lam. Yin was raised in Malaysia with her older sister Esther and brother David. 

It was in Malaysia as a young girl where she learned all about Jesus and what it means to walk with Him. Southern Baptist missionaries shared the love of Christ in her church, and she accepted Him as her Lord and Savior. 

In 1968, Yin left Malaysia and traveled to the small town of Bolivar, where she began her college studies at Southwest Baptist University. It was that cool fall semester when Yin met her future husband, Jesse Watson. The story goes, he begged friends for money to help buy this little Chinese girl a coat. Jesse and Yin married the day they graduated from SBU on May 21, 1971. After attending graduate school at Baylor University, she and Jesse moved to Spartanburg, South Carolina, where Ashley was born in 1977. Three years later, they moved to Gainesville, Georgia, where Travis and Troy were born in 1980. Jesse and Yin made their last big move in the spring of 1981, when they returned to Bolivar, where they settled and planted lifelong roots. That fall, Yin began her career with the Bolivar Center for the Developmentally Disabled within the Bolivar R-1 School District. For 31 years, “Miss Yin” was a phenomenal special needs teacher who worked with children of all ages with varying degrees of disabilities.  

In 1986, Jesse and Yin had a little surprise! They welcomed Price to the Watson clan. A couple of years later, Jesse and Yin built their final home on what they named Watson Ranch. There, she and Jesse, along with their four children, worked and ran a cattle operation. Yin also partnered with her husband in his consulting business.  

She had been a member of First Baptist Church of Bolivar from the time she and Jesse moved back to Bolivar. She had a servant’s heart and had dedicated much of her gifts and talents to those whom she had served and ministered. For the last several years, she taught the Mary Martha Sunday school class and would speak fondly of the many friendships she built with “her wonderful ladies.”  

Since her husband’s passing in 2004 and her retirement from teaching in 2012, it seemed Yin kept herself just as busy as when she was teaching and raising her four children. She took advantage of her retirement years and traveled the world with her sister Esther and her husband Steven, and her late brother David and his wife Jessie. You could be sure to find her at the CMH Senior Health Center where she volunteered and exercised, or at her church where she served and worshipped. But her most cherished and favorite thing to do was run around on the farm and play with her six beloved grandchildren. Grandma Yin referred to her grandchildren as “My Bouquet.” One of her last joyful expressions of love when looking upon her beloved grandchildren was, “All of my flowers are blooming!”  

Yin Watson was not only a rock of faithfulness to her family, but she was also a testament to her community. In her 74 years, she has no doubt left an impact on the countless lives she has touched, not just in her small town of Bolivar, but also to many across the United States and around the world. As one of His most trusted and faithful servants, our mama was sure to remind us to remember who God is and to always trust in Him. We are not to forget who we are in Christ and because she knows she is a child of God and is forever present in His glory, she is now in “quiet solitude and peaceful rest.” 


Yin Watson is survived by her sister Esther and brother-in-law Steven Chang, nephew Paul Chang and wife Jo, nieces Sharon Chang and husband Paul, and Ruth Chang, all of Perth, Australia; sister-in-law Jessie Lam of Dong Guan, China; daughter Ashley and son-in-law Chris Menefee, and granddaughter Alexa of Springfield; son Travis and daughter-in-law Ashlea, and grandsons Keegan and Baylor of Bolivar; son Troy and daughter-in-law Sarah, and grandson Trey and granddaughter Shaylee of Bolivar; son Price and daughter-in-law Whitney, and granddaughter Kinsley of Bolivar. She was preceded in death by her husband, Jesse; parents Soo Fat and Siew Lin Lam; and brother David Lam.  

As an expression of sympathy and celebration, please consider memorial contributions to a charitable foundation or group of your choice, or you may consider one of the following: First Baptist Church in Bolivar; Alpha House Pregnancy Resource Center in Bolivar; Polk County Christian School in Bolivar; New Covenant Academy in Springfield; or St. Luke’s Hospice House in Kansas City.

A private celebration of life service will be held for the family in her honor.