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Local Women Killed In Flight 800 Disaster Remembered 20 Years Later

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- It was 20 years ago today, when TWA Flight 800 left John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City - headed for Paris.  The plane exploded and there were no survivors.  Included on that flight, a group of students and chaperones from Montoursville and Pittsburgh architect Jill Watson.

Her business associate Arthur Lubetz remembers Watson as an up and comer.

"She was somebody who was on her way up.  She had won an award, and the woman she was with, was an artist who has done some murals around town," according to Lubetz.

Jill Watson was travelling with artist Judy Penzer, also from Pittsburgh.  They worked together to create a mural which is still a part of the landscape in Garfield.

Photo: KDKA

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"The both did the mural on Penn Avenue called the Bridge.  The idea was Jill's and Judy was responsible for leading the painting," Lubetz said.

Investigators ruled there was a fuel tank explosion which led to the  deaths of the 230 people on board, including the entire crew.  Watson had been a partner here in Pittsburgh at the Arthur Lubetz and Associates.  A firm that even 20 years later misses her presence.

"I missed her being here almost immediately. and its stayed that way for a while. It was a nasty situation and it was really nasty waiting for them to fish her body out of the Atlantic,"  Lubetz said.

A public memorial was scheduled to be held in NYC today, but Lubetz says family members of Jill Watson, chose to remember more privately, with a visit to her Pittsburgh area grave site.

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