Laurie Jean Watts-Wagner


Laurie Jean Watts-Wagner, born May 27, 1963 in Dixon, died March 31, 2020 in Austin, TX, age 56, of natural causes.

Laurie Jean Watts was born May 27, 1963 in Dixon, IL, the first of three daughters, to Roger L Watts and Linda L Watts (nee Monnahan). She attended grade school first in Chana, and ultimately in Oregon through high school. Upon graduating from Oregon HS in 1981, Laurie left Oregon to attend college at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne to obtain her Bachelor’s Degree in Fitness Sciences. From there, Laurie moved to Texas and began to plant seeds, starting her teaching career at Crenshaw’s Athletic Club before moving on to teach Physical Education with Round Rock ISD. Laurie enjoyed an active Austin lifestyle that included marathon running and cycling and was an avid enthusiast of Austin’s music, food and fitness culture. She would start a family and go on to have two wonderful children, John Jacob Wagner and Katherine Elise Wagner, born in December 1991 and December 1993 respectively.

In 1996, after an overnight seizure, Laurie was diagnosed with cancer – a brain tumor that required aggressive surgery and radiation to remove and treat. In the immediate aftermath of the seizure and cancer, Laurie triumphantly returned to cycling and running, including the training and completion of at least two marathons and other endurance events, championing the causes of cancer survivorship.

On March 30, due to a cerebral aneurysm, Laurie was found unconscious and unresponsive in her home and transported to a local Austin hospital. On the morning of March 31, 2020, Laurie passed peacefully with her sister Lisa and daughter Katie at her side.

She was preceded in death by her paternal grandparents, Elsie (nee Houpt) and Ralph Watts, her maternal grandparents Lucille (nee Pierce) and Isaac Monnahan, and her Uncle Earl Monnahan. 

She is survived by her children: son, John Jacob Wagner, Marble Falls, Texas, and daughter, Katherine Elise Wagner, Austin, Texas; Father, Roger L Watts, Oregon; Mother, Linda L Watts, Austin, Texas; sister, Lindy K Watts, Austin, Texas; sister and brother-in-law, Lisa Watts-Madolora and Matthew Madolora; and many dear aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

Due to the emerging coronavirus and CoVid-19, and with consideration of social safety, immediate services are being attended by immediate family only. A future event to celebrate the tumultuous and triumphant life of Laurie Watts-Wagner with family and friends will be scheduled as circumstances allow. For more information, please contact: Lindy Watts, via email at In lieu of flowers, please donate to Allies Against Slavery:

Thank you for the outpouring of love, support, and condolences during these unprecedented times. Laurie had the biggest of hearts and will be greatly missed.