Hilary Watson, 1956-2019

November 28th, 2019

Accomplished NCHA member Hilary Watson, 63, of Overland Park, Kansas, passed away November 27 following a battle with pancreatic cancer.

She was an Unlimited Amateur finalist at all of NCHA’s Triple Crown shows, placing fifth at last year’s NCHA Futurity on Full Metal Jacket. In the past two years, she also collected trophies at all of the Pacific Coast CHA’s major events, The Non-Pro Cutting, Arbuckle Mountain and the Southern Futurity.

She earned more than $380,000 in cutting competition and was the 2019 recipient of the Mary Kingsbury Sportsmanship Award.

Her husband, golf legend and fellow cutter, Tom Watson, said, “The void she leaves will be filled by memories which will always remain as they leave indelible marks on our souls which we will never forget. She said she was dying to live, not living to die throughout her entire ordeal with her cancer. She’s my hero.”

Hilary grew up in Rhodesia—which is now Zimbabwe. She was an athlete who qualified for the 1976 Rhodesian Olympic team in the long jump, high jump and hurdles. She was also an avid golfer before she married Tom in 1999, later introducing him to cutting.

Despite her illness, Watson continued to compete at a high level, earning more than $84,000 in 2019, and winning senior titles at the NCHA Summer Spectacular and the recent Pacific Coast Futurity.

“Whether I’m feeling good or not, I was going to still get on that horse. And have some fun doing it,” she told the Kansas City Star last year. “That’s been a godsend for me.”

Hilary Watson is survived by her husband, Tom, and her children, Kyle Charles, Kelly Paige and Ross Donald, her step-children, Meg Carr and Michael Watson, and two sisters, Alicia Korte and Christine Holton. Her brother, Tommy, preceded her in death.

Services are pending.

Hilary Watson on One Alley Cat.