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Dr. Doris Watson

Honorary Life member Dr. Doris Watson, 93, of Ocean Township, New Jersey, passed away on Tuesday August 18, 2015 at her home. 

Doris Watson was a pioneer in handbell ringing in the United States. As one of the first people to introduce handbell ringing in churches, her choirs were a definite change from the practice of the day. Before her work, most sets were owned by individuals who had family and/or community groups. Her early choirs not only introduced handbells in the church service, but also made use of more harmonies than was the custom. At that time, her practices were considered by some to be questionable. Undaunted, she furthered the cause by having her bell choir appear twice on the old Gary Moore TV show in 1948; an exposure that is credited with the beginning of a nationwide interest in handbells.

Doris is a charter member of the Guild, having attended the first festival gatherings at Castle Hill. She had numerous articles published in the early Overtones and also wrote one of the first books on handbell ringing. She remained active in the Guild for over 40 years, participating in Guild tours and attending many of the recent Seminars. She was named an Honorary Life member in 1996.