So often, when the partner in a life-long relationship - where one of them is a successful public figure - is the first to die, he or she receives accolades and a grand obituary. The surviving partner is left to the remains of the day with a host of memories, a drawer full of tributes and sincere condolences from all quarters - then eventually leaves life quietly with none of the publicity accorded to the first to die. It wasn't quite that way for Emma Jane Watson for she did not fade away unnoticed nor was her contribution to life unrecorded and forgotten.
She married William Mather in 1863 when he was 25 years old. When her husband, by then Sir William Mather - entrepreneur, industrialist, educationalist and humanitarian - died at the age of 82, in 1920, he did so as a man both esteemed and celebrated for his life's work. In death, he was dignified by royalty, by commoners and by countries; above all, he was honoured by his company.
It is refreshing, therefore, to find that his wife was also honoured by Sir William's company, Mather & Platt, when she died soon after him, on November 10th 1921. The following text was published in the company Journal of January 1922 and it clearly shows the affection with which Lady Mather was regarded by so many people and how inter-dependent she and Sir William were during their lives.
"It is little more than a year since we had to chronicle in our Magazine the passing away of our former Chief, Sir William Mather, and we have now the sad duty of recording the passing to her rest of Sir William Mather's widow, who died in the beautiful home she loved so well in the New Forest, on the 10th of November last. It often happens that when an exceptionally long and happy companionship in married life has been broken, it is not long before the call comes for the final re-union.
Lady Mather's loss will be felt far beyond her own family, as her wide sympathies and her personal generosity had, through the whole of her lifetime, brought brightness and renewed hope into the lives of the sick and suffering, particularly in our own city and its surroundings.
Sir William Mather's greatest happiness was to have had such a wife and helpmate, and only those who knew her calm, sweet, unchangeable nature can understand what her companionship meant to him through the stress of his long life, filled with so many activities and with such diversified interests.
Our own people at Salford Iron Works and at Park Works have cause to remember with thankfulness Lady Mather's kind thought for them and her generosity to their children. In the early days of the Queen Street Institute, Lady Mather provided dinners there for school children at a charge of a halfpenny. She was one of the founders of the Salford and Manchester Sick Poor Nursing Association, and during the Great War she sent a gift of books each Christmas to the children of all our men who had joined the forces.
Her charming disposition and beauty of character endeared her to all who came in contact with her, and by them she will be greatly missed, but most of all to our Chairman and to his sisters does our sympathy go forth in their second great loss in so short a time."