Bernice Watson, inspired to make Coca-Cola recipes

“Her Coca-Cola cake and her Coca-Cola salad went over well with her co-workers, so she continued making them for friends and family after she retired,” said her son, Thomas Watson of Lilburn.

“She used a cup of Coke in the cake, so the cola taste was very distinctive,” he said. “Same thing for the congealed salad, which called for six ounces of Coke along with pineapple, pitted cherries and cherry-flavored gelatin.”

A 32-year Coca-Cola employee, Mrs. Watson rose to become food services division manager, presiding over the executives’ dining room as well as the cafeteria. She planned menus for breakfasts, lunches and special events such as holiday-theme meals. Prior to her Coca-Cola career, she was a photo technician with Lane Drugs. She also worked in front of the camera, modeling stockings featured at the Toledo, Ohio-based drugstore chain. “I suppose you might say she was proud of her legs,” her son said. Mrs. Watson, 90, died at her Lilburn home September 26 of heart failure. A memorial service is scheduled at 2 p.m. Sunday at Wages & Sons Gwinnett Chapel. The body was cremated.

A close friend and neighbor, Mrs. Rike Faust of Lilburn, recalled that she would see Mrs. Watson driving by her home well before dawn on many a morning so as to get to the Coca-Cola cafeteria in time to supervise breakfasts.

After Mrs. Watson retired in 1984, Mrs. Watson gave her full attention to what seemed her favorite sport: shopping.

“She would spend a whole day shopping for clothes – especially shoes – she loved shoes. Then the next day she might take several things back that didn’t quite suit her. She always dressed nicely, and her hair was always just so,” Mrs. Faust said.

Mrs. Watson and Mrs. Faust were frequent traveling companions the last 25 years, visiting family and friends across the South from Virginia to Texas.

Survivors include another son, John Wesley Johnson of Atlanta, two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

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