Billy Wilson Waters


Craig resident, Billy Wilson Waters, died Nov. 11, 2003, in Rifle, Colo., at the Colorado State Veterans Nursing Home. He was 84.

Waters was born May 29, 1919, to Benjamin "Tex" and Blanche (Hunt) Waters.

Waters grew up on a ranch on Elkhead River north of the present day Yampa Valley Regional Airport and attended Hayden Union High School where he was Captain of the Tigers football team and Salutatorian of his class, 1938. He generally rode horseback to school but occasionally caught the Mt. Harris school bus into Hayden. In the winter, Waters cross-country skied home and his horse followed him. He loved horses and his dad taught him how to handle them. He and a fellow wrangler gathered a herd of wild horses down in Brown's Park and with the sale of that herd he was able to buy his first car. After high school, he joined the U.S. Navy, where he was schooled in diesel mechanics and later served on a welldeck destroyer, the USS King. While stationed in San Francisco, he fell in love with Eloise Miller and following a courtship of four weeks and four days, they were married on May 15, 1943. This year was their wedding anniversary. Following World War II, they and their daughter, Sherry, moved to Craig. Later, they had another daughter, Susan. Waters was first employed by Halliburton and later Watson Motor Company, both in Craig. Weekends were always spent fishing, hunting, and camping with his family. He never told a joke, but had a wonderful sense of humor and his tallest of tales were always about fishing. He enjoyed the vicarious life he found in Western novels, John Wayne movies, and Denver Bronco games. He also enjoyed gardening, reading, and being around people, especially his family. Like Will Rogers, he never met a man he didn't like. He was involved in Veterans of Foreign Wars, Elks Lodge, Masonic Yampa Lodge 88, Order of Eastern Star, and Rainbow Girls, Rainbow Dad.

Waters is survived by his wife, Eloise Waters, of Craig; daughters Sherry (Jim) Nickoloff, of Billings, Mont., and Susan Stussy, of Bakersfield, Calif.; granddaughter, Lori (Kevin) Schwartzkopf; great-grandchildren Melissa, Chelsea, Lindsey, and Matthew; brother, Ben (Lolita) Waters; and by numerous aunts and uncles.

Waters was preceded in death by his parents, Benjamin and BlancheWaters, his sister, Marguerite Cnniff, and his grandson, Grant Nickoloff.

Services were Nov. 14, 2003, at First Congregational Church with Gay Albers officiating. The organist was Elaine DeuPree. Selections were "Precious Lord Take My Hand", by Butch McKune, "The Lord's Prayer" and "How Great Thou Art" by Lori Schwartzkopf.

Pallbearers were Walt Cisar, Bill Harding, Mike McIntyre, Dale Thompson, Von Wilson, and Mike Thompson.

Honorary pallbearers were Dayton Dowling, Jack Ducey, Lewis Livingston, Wilbert Miller, Jim Rogers, Homer Wilson, and Al Cortez.

Interment was at Craig Cemetery.

Graveside service was by Officers of VFW Post #4265.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice or the Colorado Veterans Nursing Home in Rifle, both in care of Grant Mortuary.

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