Jerry Blakely Waters
Jan. 6, 1933 – Jun. 12, 2019
Jerry Blakely Waters, a native of Cheyenne County, Kansas, and most recently of Midlothian, Virginia, passed away June 12, 2019, after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease. Jerry was a political scientist, farmlands advocate, policy strategist, photographer, chef, writer, naturalist, connoisseur of the best life offered. His was an accomplished life, defined by his inquiring, open mind and his eternal dedication to his family.
He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Janice Laverne Miller Waters, originally of St. Francis, Kansas; his daughter Ricki Carruth (and her husband Steve) of Mingo, West Virginia; son, Jeff Waters (and his partner Margaret Duncan) of Santa Barbara, California; and son Brent Waters (and his wife Mary) of Richmond, Virginia; grandchildren Miranda Carruth (and her husband Jered Clifton) of Baltimore, Logan Waters of Richmond, Freddy Carruth of Staunton, Virginia, and Sarah Waters of Richmond; sister Cathy Brunswig (Charles) of Ft. Collins, Colorado; brother and sister-in-law Marvin and Anita Miller of St. Francis; plus nieces, nephews, cousins, and many friends. Jerry is preceded in death by his parents, Roy and Bertha Waters of St. Francis; and sisters Dona Sherlock (Charles) of Castle Rock, Colorado, Dixie Keller (Robert) of St. Francis, and Beth Heitschmidt (Ernie) of Guyman, Oklahoma.
Born January 6, 1933, Jerry was raised on his beloved family wheat and cattle farm, Grandview, located outside St. Francis, Kansas, land he continued to own upon his passing. He received his B.S. degree in agricultural economics and journalism from Kansas State University. After graduation, with his new bride and baby daughter, he moved to Aldeburgh, England to serve as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force. Upon return to the States, Jerry earned his Master’s degree in agricultural economics, then his Ph.D. in political science from Michigan State University. During this time, he and Janice completed their family with the birth of their two sons.
As Dr. Waters, Jerry became a political science professor at Kansas State University, where he taught for six years, before becoming chief of staff for U.S. Senator James Pearson (R-KS) in Washington, D.C., directing the Senator’s legislative efforts in farm policy, international trade and rural development. In 1979, he joined the consulting firm of E.A. Jaenke & Associates as a senior associate, serving clients in agribusiness, higher education, and the U.S. Agency for International Development. In 1985, Jerry directed the establishment and then oversaw the operation of Farmland Industries’ federal government relations program. He established his own Federal Consulting Services in 1997, focusing on the analysis of the changing economic and political structure of production agriculture. Upon “retirement,” he became a gifted photographer and developed a new family business venture, Grandview East, in Chincoteague, Virginia.
Jerry was a fierce warrior against his Parkinson’s Disease. He remained engaged in politics and enjoyed a good political discussion with family and friends until the end. His love of nature, literature, music, the arts – life, in all its wonders – was always shared with those lucky enough to be in his circle. His legacy is rich and will last through the generations.
He taught his children well.
Family and friends will celebrate Jerry’s life in a private ceremony this summer. In lieu of flowers, donations are welcomed to The Parkinson’s Foundation or The National Hospice Foundation.
To the Carruth/Waters families.
Some people come into our lives but are gone too soon..
They move our souls to dance.
Some people share the whisper of their wisdom.
Leaving footprints on our hearts, we are never ever the same.
Your Dad/Grandfather was one of these people.
Much love to mom and all.
Dear Mrs. Waters and Family,
We are so sorry for your loss. Dr. Waters was an exceptional person, a fact you and the family have known all of these years!!! He made the world a better place in small and big ways. I’ve always cherished knowing your family by way of being Ricki’s college roommate.
I saw the following quote and it made me think of your dear husband and the father of your amazing children:
As some people journey through life,
they leave footprints wherever they go –
footprints of kindness and love,
courage and compassion
humor and inspiration,
joy and faith.
Even when they are gone,
we can still look back
and clearly see the trail
they left behind-
a trail bright with hope
that invites us to follow.
Dr. Waters’s trail of love and kindness, grit and intellect is as bright as a well-lit highway. We were blessed to know him.
Much love to you and the family,
Sharon O’Brien and Albert Klavon
Dearest friend Ricki, there are not enough “I’m sorry for your loss”
Or kind words from your friends, or hugs, or letters or cards to fix how sad and lost you are feeling.
The hole in your heart will shrink a little as time passes, but not even time can fully fix this loss.
Only love will help. The loving memories and the love of family.
And especially the love you received from your dad. Rest well Jerry.
Dearest sweet friend Ricki,
I am so thankful to be able to learn a little about your dad. I did not know he was a Spartan! I know he was a wonderful father to you and you will miss him terribly. I pray your memories will comfort you and your family as you go through the grieving process. I pray the love and prayers of others with give you added comfort and strength. Thank you for sharing this with me. When you return to Mingo, you have many friends who love you dearly and are here when you need us. Virtual hugs ❤️😘
You have captured your dad so well in words. Thank you for sharing that tribute. I am so happy to have had personal contact with Jerry as a result of buying Grandview West. Jerry enriched my life with his stories, his photos, his engaging gift of conversation.
My heart goes out to you all. I know it is hard to give him up, but he left a inch legacy for you to draw on
Dear Ricki and family, a lovely tribute to your Dad, a man who I know you loved and admired so very much. Through our friendship, you have already passed along many beautiful and important life lessons that I treasure. Indeed, he taught his children well! Only wish I could have had the opportunity to meet your dear Dad.
My heartfelt condolences. Jerry was a friend, mentor and trusted colleague during my years with the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, and beyond. I really appreciated his ‘covering my back’ during the mid-90’s, when in representing NCFC I was on point on environmental issues, in favor of a constructive engagement approach in efforts to find common, problem-solving policy approaches.
It’s been too long since I saw him last. He was retired, writing a book, and invited me over to the National Press Club for lunch and a great visit. He endured his battle with Parkinson’s with dignity and without complaint, focused solely on the positive in looking forward to sharing the lessons learned and wisdom from his distinguished career in Washington, DC. I was privileged that our respective journeys through life crossed. I am the richer for it.