US Army

Russell A. Waters, Sr.

January 11, 1936 ~ April 14, 2021 (age 85)

Obituary

Sylvania - Russell Ashton Waters, Sr., beloved husband, father, and son, passed away unexpectedly Wednesday, April 14th, 2021. He was born on January 11, 1936 in Screven
County to the late G. Clifford Waters, Jr., and Elizabeth Brown Waters. He attended elementary school and Screven County High School, where he was a scholar athlete and earned 12 athletic varsity letters. A gifted athlete, he also was a gifted student, earning straight A's throughout school. These unusual talents were continued when he attended Georgia Tech where he played football and decided to accept an appointment to the U. S. Military Academy (West Point) offered to him by the late Senator Richard B. Russell.

He went to West Point and excelled academically, but he decided to join the Army Track Team.  One of the football coaches saw him run at a track meet and approached him to try out for the football team.  At that time in 1957, Earl Blaik was the Army Coach.  He persuaded Russell to play end, placed Russell in the position of Lonesome End, and the Army football team became Number 1 in the country.  Russell became the Captain of Cadets for his company L-2 and was name the most physically fit student in his class. He also won many NCAA awards in track.  All this time, he continued to excel academically and graduated near the top of his class. Throughout this time, Russell told everyone who hounded him for publicity that he was just a farm boy from Sylvania, Georgia.

Graduating from West Point in 1960, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Army Air Defense Command.  His first assignment was at the  Presidio of San Francisco where he was sent to a Nike Missile site  outside the city. It was during that time that Robert played Quarterback for the 49ers, lived with Russell and his family, and Russell went to all the games.  He then was assigned to Flight School, became an L-19 pilot, and quickly rose to the rank of Captain.  All his assignments were classified, and he was given a Top-Secret clearance. He served in Viet Nam where he flew his spotter plane and transported food and supplies including doctors to the Montagnard’s, the Mountain people. He rose to the rank of Commanding Officer at Camp Holloway and while there, the Viet Cong bombed and mortared them.  This was in February 1965, and President Johnson escalated the conflict into a full-fledged war.

Returning to the U.S., Russell attended a number of, nuclear weapons schools, and was then assigned to Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland, the location of Fort Dietrich, where he was Commanding Officer of a Nike Missile site.  While there General Raymond L. Shoemaker came to visit, and two weeks later, Russell was invited to Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado Springs, the Headquarters of the Army Air Defense Command. When he returned to Maryland, he had been named the aide to Gen. Shoemaker who was the Commanding General of ARADCOM.  He served in this capacity for two years but decided that he wanted to go home to Georgia and be near his parents. Returning to Georgia, he became a Stockbroker at Merrill Lynch in Savannah, but then decided to become the Administrative Assistant to G. Elliott Hagan, the Congressman of the First District of Georgia, until eventually returning to Sylvania.  He worked in the private industry sector until his retirement. During his career, he began playing golf and played at the Briar Creek Country Club.  Throughout the rest of his life, he continued to love the sport and all the people associated with the club in Screven County. He continued to win many tournaments and awards, and on the morning of April 14th, was very upset because he was unable to play in the Blitz.

Russell was a member of the Sylvania First Baptist Church, the Screven County High School Athletic Hall of Fame, a number of Scholastic Honorary Societies, the Airport Authority, and the Briar Creek Country Club (GOLF). He was predeceased by his parents, and by his brother, Robert (Bob), the ex-Quarterback for the SF 49ers.

His survivors are his wife of almost 61 years, Ann; his sons, Russell, Bremen, GA: Michael (Janet), North Augusta, SC; and Brett, Sylvania; his grandchildren, Hayleah Gottenbos (Koen), Winston, GA, and Nicholas, Bremen, GA: and a great granddaughter, Addison, Winston, GA.  He is also survived by a brother, Lt. Col. George Donald Waters, US Army Retired (Barbara) of Newnan, GA. Other survivors include many nieces, nephews, and cousins, as well as a dog named Pete, and his many friends who played golf with him at Briar Creek. He was loved dearly by his sons, his wife, and family members, because he never said an unkind word to his children. His kindness was unmatched.

Due to Covid-19, the family will hold a private funeral service at Screven County Memorial Cemetery.

Thompson-Strickland-Waters Funeral Home in charge of all arrangements. 

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