DORIS WATTS, recap:
“Withers” is a made-up name by Jane for the purposes of publication.
We found that a Doris Watts graduated in 1952 from South Side High School in Elmira, N.Y.
If it is her, she could still be alive, actually.
Being of her generation, if she married, she most probably took her husband’s name. In the '50s, if you were female and 30 years old, you were an old maid and considered unlikely to find a marriage suitor. There was a lot of pressure to marry in one’s 20s back then.
Perhaps a good avenue of enquiry is to see whether further mention of Doris Watts can be found (at least during the when she may have been single). We can concentrate on the Elmira-ish area. There may be newspaper notices. It was common at the time for print, of course, to tell who is doing what–social committees, performances, events, marriage notices or mentions, etc. We may get a lead as to who she might have married…
It might be important to remember that digital archival websites only have a small fraction of what is to be digitized, still. They continue that process and databases expand over time.
THREE lines of enquiry:
People who went to high school with Doris are still alive and live in the Elmira area. Find online groups comprised of individuals in that area (Meetup group, etc.) Ask if anyone knows her.
Since she may still be alive, find government offices and call them. Speaking to a person can help enormously. People in small towns usually are friendly on the phone and willing to chat a bit to help out. Such a person might know her or suggest how to find her–organizations she might be a part of–say, a senior citizen’s group or other avenues we, not living in that area, are unaware of.
Place an ad in the Elmira newspaper. Older folks in smaller towns usually do read this (and are less savvy and connected to the Internet).
This would require a bit of work but are good leads. We could divvy up the work between us.