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Published: Sunday, 10/31/2004

School psychologist loved helping people

Geneva Hankish Watters, a former Toledo Public Schools psychologist for more than 30 years, died yesterday in Toledo Hospital. She was 81.

She suffered a stroke, family members said.

Born Geneva Hankish in Bluffton, Ohio, Mrs. Watters earned her bachelor's degree at Bluffton College and a master's degree in psychology from Bowling Green University. She also received an educational specialist degree from the University of Toledo where she was pursuing doctoral studies.

"She specialized in child psychology because she loved helping people," said Eugene Hankish, her brother.

Mrs. Watters started her career in 1950, working in public schools in Defiance and Sandusky, recalled her brother. She then moved to Toledo, where she worked in the public school system for 30 years, retiring in 1980.

"She was always very gracious and willing to share knowledge that would help the children," said Bruce Kelly, a former TPS psychologist who worked with Mrs. Watters for more than five years.

He recalled that she was instrumental in the evaluation of students through parent and teacher intervention programs, which he said were designed to help parents understand their children's learning disabilities.

Mrs. Watters married her husband, Jack, on Aug. 13 1969. The couple had no children.

A member of the St. Joan of Arc Church, Mrs. Watters was also a member of the Ohio Psychological Association, the Maumee Valley School Psychologist Association, and the Ohio Retired Teachers Association.

Surviving are her husband of 35 years, Jack Watters; sisters, Theda Hankish, Ruth Badertscher, Janice Rhodes; and brother Eugene Hankish.

Visitation will be held from 2 to 9 p.m. Tuesday in the Coyle Funeral Home. Funeral services scheduled Wednesday at the St. Joan of Arc Church, are pending.

The family suggests that tributes be made to the Sisters of Notre Dame.

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