HENRY CHRISTMAS WATERER
Henry Christmas Waterer, Jr. was born on May 27, 1931 and went home to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on April 22, 2020. He was preceded in death by his wife of 34 years, Jane Patton Waterer and his parents, Henry C. Waterer, Sr. and Lucille Beevers Waterer. He is survived by his two sons and their wives (and who were his loving daughters): Henry Christmas Waterer, III and wife, Rebecca Rieves Waterer, and Ronald Patton Waterer and wife, Edie Walker Waterer. He had seven grandchildren (Maredith, Joy Kate, Hank, Madelyn, Johnson, Thomas, and Jared) and eight great grandchildren. Henry is also survived by his three siblings: Mary Waterer Curtis, Lela Ann Waterer Neal, and Willie Frank Waterer. He was also blessed to have had a sweet and loving relationship with Penny Frazer of Clarksdale, for his last eighteen years. She was a dear companion, loving friend, and was significant in so many ways in his life.
Henry lived his entire life in Holmes County, Mississippi near Tchula except for the time he served in the U.S. Air Force as a captain, while piloting T-33’s and F-86’s from 1953-1956. He was a graduate of both Tchula High School in May, 1949 and Mississippi State University with a B.S. in Agriculture in May, 1953. While at Mississippi State University, Henry was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, the Air Force ROTC, and was a Purina scholarship recipient. After his service in the Air Force was completed, he married Alice Jane Patton in November, 1957. They lived and raised their children on Shotwell Plantation near Tchula, where he worked as a farmer, and was a loving and devoted husband and father throughout his life.
Henry was very active in his church and served as Sunday School superintendent at the Tchula United Methodist Church, where he also taught Sunday School and sang in the choir for many years after his return from military service. Later in life, Henry was quite active in the Lexington United Methodist Church where he continued to teach Sunday School and sing in the choir until his declining health would no longer allow him to serve in those capacities. He served as a Lay Minister and was involved with the Gideons organization for many years. He was also involved in the Tchula Lions Club, the Greenwood American Legion Post 29, served as a board member at Cruger-Tchula Academy for many years, Commissioner with the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta Levee Board for 28 years, Delta Electric Co-op in Greenwood, MS, and Cooperative Energy in Hattiesburg, MS (where he served as President of both for many years). Henry was an active volunteer with the local Boy Scouts of America troop 70 in Tchula where he encouraged both of his sons to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. While volunteering there, one of his favorite roles was as an instructor in the Hunter Safety Course that was taught to young people each year.
Besides his love and devotion to his family, Henry loved to read and explore a wide range of subjects, but military history, flying, and shooting sports were his real passions. Henry also became a member of MENSA at the age of 61 and continued to stretch his mind and challenge himself scholastically throughout his life. He was an active pilot and kept a current pilot’s license and flew his Cessna 172 until he was 85 years old. He was always looking for an excuse to go flying and loved introducing others to his joy and love of flying. Henry’s knowledge of firearms and ballistics was quite impressive. He loved the technical conversations about anything to do with guns and loved sharing his knowledge and expertise with those who wanted to learn about the different choices to achieve a particular task.
There are no adequate words to fully summarize our dad’s life and the wonderful example of a loving, devoted, and encouraging husband and father he was. His Christian faith was the bedrock foundation of who he was in this life. It was his strong faith that sustained him and his family during his final days as he continued to “fight the good fight” until he crossed through the veil and joined Jesus and the other preceding saints. His faith was evident in the way his sons were raised and taught, not only as children, but by his continuing influence and guidance of us into adulthood . Later in life, he was a very active grandfather and had an endearing relationship with his grandchildren whom he deeply cherished. The opportunity to see and hold many of his great grandchildren was a comfort and a blessing in his final years which brought a very special smile to his face and imprinted some of his sweetest memories in his final days.
Henry Christmas Waterer, Jr. was so many things to so many people and was such a wonderful influence upon those who knew him. To his family, as well as the friends who knew him well, he was often referred to as “the ultimate Southern gentleman.” But what we will always remember, cherish, and miss, until we see him again with Jesus, is our wonderful, caring, encouraging, and loving Daddy.
Honorary pallbearers are: Steve Flemming, Crawford Logan, Ricky Davidson, Jack Bridgers, David O’Bryan, and Tom Kilpatrick.
In lieu of flowers, please make memorial contributions in his honor to: First United Methodist Church of Lexington, 108 Tchula Street, Lexington, MS 39095; the Pinecrest Cemetery, in care of Bruce Edwards, PO Box 417, Tchula, MS 39169; or Methodist Children’s Homes of Mississippi, 805 North Flag Chapel Road, Jackson, MS 39209; or American Legion Post 29, 618 North Aubrey Circle, Greenwood, MS 38930.
Due to the corona virus pandemic, we will be postponing the memorial service and celebration of Henry Waterer’s life until a date that is in accordance with state recommendations. Details will be forthcoming when appropriate.
Wilson and Knight Funeral Home is in charge. Online guest book may be signed at www.wilsonandknight.com