Cover photo for James C Waters's Obituary
James C Waters Profile Photo

James C Waters

August 2, 1950 — October 26, 2020

A special time to honor James C. Waters has been scheduled for October 9th from 12-3 at the Ingleside Hotel. All who knew Jim are welcome to come and remember a life well lived. Please RSVP to the EVITE LINK so that we can plan ahead for refreshments (but know that you are still welcome even without an RSVP).

James (Jim) Clayton Waters, age 70, of Hartland, passed away peacefully on Monday, October 26th, 2020 at Froedtert Hospital. He lost a five-year battle to a rare neuromuscular disease that started with weakness in his thumb in 2014. His last four years were wrought with grief and unanswered questions, but they in no way speak to or summarize his life of a man well-lived and well-loved.

A loving and generous husband and father, Jim is survived by his wife, Cynthia Waters in Hartland, his daughter Kristen (Micah) in Colorado, his daughter Katherine (Geth) and his son James (Kaaren) both in California. He is further survived by his eight grandchildren: Vivian, Micah, Gretchen, Virginia, Jillian, Solomon, Joshua and Geneva. His desire for ten grandchildren was always well known, so with the addition of two grand-dogs and a grand-kitten, we feel that he would be thrilled. A caring and devout son and brother, he is survived by his mother, Vivian Waters, brother Robert H. (Jean) Waters, Jr., and his sister Mary (Dennis) Ceolla. He is further survived by many nieces, nephews, and cousins that he poured into during his lifetime. He was preceded in death by his father Robert Waters in 2016 and his oldest brother Bruce Waters in 2019.

Jim was born on August 2nd, 1950, the son of Robert and Vivian Waters. The third of four children, Jim was a child that, according to his mother, “always led around a gaggle of neighborhood boys.” He loved the woods, hunting, and his uncle’s farm. He also loved to boat, camp, and snow ski. His grades struggled in high school, but after his guidance counselor told him that he was not “college material,” he was determined to be the first in his family to graduate from college. And so, he did, with a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. He met his wife, Cynthia, and married in Eleva, Wisconsin on October 15, 1977. Children came soon after and they were swept into family life. In their later years, they enjoyed their golden retrievers, golfing, spending time on the hunting land and in their yard (with the excuse that it had to be perfect for the grandkids). They took boat rides on the Milwaukee River, skied out West, tailgated at Packer games, and traveled internationally to Africa, Europe and Australia. He was a devoted husband. They were married 43 years. Jim was a smart and ambitious man. He went to work for his father in his twenties and enjoyed working in sales and management at Waters Industrial Supply. He told his children that he “sold sandpaper,” but obviously it was much more than that. In his time there, he helped to employ not only local Wisconsinites, but also immigrants and students from New Tribes Bible Institute. He loved his work and was proud of the long-time employment the company was able to provide. He led well and touched many during his 30+ years. The business was sold upon his retirement in 2018.

He had a fierce love for his three children. In their younger years, he coached seasons of soccer, pulled a boat (loaded down with camping gear) up to Door County each summer, fished, begged them to water ski despite the seaweed, snow skied with them in Steamboat Springs, and with Cindy, attended every out-of-state Bethel football game when his son played in college. This exemplified the kind of passionate and driven supporter he was. Jim lived and loved well. As his children grew, there were three marriages within 12 months (2007-2008). Jim was ecstatic – “the cast had been set.” Grandchildren came and there were walks through his woods, tractor rides, cookies at great-grandma’s house, boat rides, fishing, and more. He wouldn’t change a diaper, but he would tickle them to death and be sure to make them laugh. He had many dreams… and his sickness cut them short. Jim noticed weakness in his thumb in 2014. He was later diagnosed with Lewis-Sumner Syndrome, a rare neuromuscular disease. He fought the disease with the determination of a warrior – disciplined to his physical therapy regime, endless trips to specialists, Mayo clinic, and countless conversations with doctors. His wife supported him through it all. Still, the weakness spread through his upper body over the course of four long years. He was young. We had time, and he wanted to keep fighting, but he was not getting better. Eventually his body gave out, and Jesus called him home. In the afternoon of Monday, October 26th, Jim was welcomed into His Savior’s arms. He is free to be with Jesus. He is free of the disease that held him captive to a bed for three long years. He is free from suffering. We imagine him jogging through Heaven in the heat of the day with his black turtleneck on and a blue grass gospel song in his heart (that he is listening to on repeat). There is hope in the fact that he trailblazes the path for us. The grief is real, and COVID-19 has robbed us of many things, but we were able to say goodbye and pray with him as a family in his last moments. We have full confidence that we will see him again in Heaven. Praise God.

A private interment for close family will be held at Lisbon Merton Union Cemetery.

Jim and Cindy volunteered at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission and tutored children for several years. Memorials can be made to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission at

To end, we will say that Dad was not a perfect man, but he loved well. His charisma was at times contagious and overwhelming, but in the end, he was always driving to make us better. His life is a demonstration of the impact one can have on the world.

As Clarence Budington Kelland states, “My father did not tell me how to live. He lived and let me watch him do it.” We love you, Dad! ~Kristen, Katie and Jimmy

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James C Waters, please visit our flower store.



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