Lillian C. Watt, a pharmacist who pursued careers in China and New York and later became an active centenarian, died Thursday from respiratory failure at her Towson home. She was 105.
The former Lillian Chin was the daughter of Chin Quon, a crockery dealer and restaurateur who later owned the China Clipper, the landmark North Charles Street restaurant, and of his wife, Betty Lee, a homemaker.
She was born in Baltimore and raised on Paca Street and later on North Charles Street.
A 1930 graduate of Western High School, she earned her pharmacy degree in 1934 from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy.
After graduating, Mrs. Watt moved to China, where she worked for an American pharmaceutical firm. There, she met and fell in love with John Y.C. Watt, a parasitologist, whom she married in the 1940s. He later worked at the Fort Howard Veterans Administration Hospital.
After the outbreak of World War II, they left and settled in New York City, and she took a job with another pharmaceutical company. The couple returned to Baltimore in the late 1940s, when she became a full-time homemaker caring for their two children, and her husband earned his Ph.D.
For years, they lived on the Alameda until moving to Towson more than 40 years ago. Dr. Watt died in 1981.
Mrs. Watt had been a longtime active member of Grace & Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church in the city’s Mount Vernon neighborhood.
Her daughter, Sandra W.L. “Sandy” Watt, said her mother, who gained centenarian status, followed no particular regimen.
“She never drank or used alcohol,” said Ms. Watt of Towson. “She loved chicken of any kind and especially fried chicken. That was her favorite.She also loved Chinese food and liked going to eat American, Italian and even fast food.”
Mrs. Watt’s exercise was confined to visiting malls, which in recent years she traversed with her walker.
“She loved going out and sitting in a mall for about three hours. After having lunch, she’d sit and people watch,” her daughter said.
She also liked looking at the window displays and remembered going downtown in the old days to see the windows at Hutzler’s and Hochschild’s, Ms. Watt said. “Her favorite malls were Towson Town Center and the mall in Columbia.”
Ms. Watt said that despite her mother being 105, “her mind still remained very active.”
Mrs. Watt’s other hobbies were entertaining and cooking for her family.