On Friday, May 5, 2023, Gail Rowe Waters, loving wife, mother of two children and grandmother of five grandchildren, passed away at the age of 76. Gail’s legacy is one of accomplishment, kindness, humor, and most of all, love.
She grew up in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina spending most of her time with her brother Buddy in a house with a tin roof next to a corn crib used to house their pet rabbits. Gail has always been proud of her older brother, who later shortened his name to Bud and went on to become a renowned neurologist.
Gail graduated with a BA from the University of North Carolina and a Master of Education from North Carolina State University and became an accomplished teacher for visually impaired children in public schools throughout North Carolina. She had many awards which she kept in the bottom drawer of a dresser in her closet, preferring to adorn her walls with pictures of family and occasional pro-cat propaganda. In her closet were awards for: induction into Delta Kappa Gamma Society International Honorary Teaching Society; the Rachel Rawls Award for significant contribution to the field of visual impairments; the Wake County Public Schools Teacher of Excellence in Special Education; and the Order of the Long Leaf Pine presented by the Governor of North Carolina.
In 1972, Gail married William Waters which began a storybook love-affair lasting more than four decades. They had two children, Lisa and Bryan, and began traveling the country in various RV’s with Gail behind the wheel and Bill managing the food and kids. Bill passed away in 2013 and we are confident the two are together again at a Bojangles in heaven planning their next journey together.
Upon meeting Gail, most are immediately struck by the sweetest western-North Carolina accent you’ve ever heard. This was especially true during her time in Des Moines, Iowa. Whether hearing her voice in conversation or beautifully harmonizing while strumming a guitar or alongside her brother Bud with his banjo, Gail had a presence in any room she occupied.
While she had many unique qualities, she was best-known for her thoughtfulness. Gail was an excellent listener and would remember your favorite food, color, musician, tv show, flower or anything you mentioned. If you said you liked country ham to Gail Waters, you can expect to have a country ham biscuit waiting for you every time you visit. She would take whatever time was necessary to find the exact right card for your birthday or drive 20 miles out of her way to get a special desert you mentioned in passing. Making her friends and family feel loved is what made her happy.
Gail is survived by her two children Lisa and Bryan, brother Bud and five grandchildren, River, Alice, Andrew, Will, and Samantha. A funeral service is scheduled for 1:00 pm at Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church in Raleigh, NC. In lieu of flowers, please donate to Fighting Blindness.org, on Gail’s behalf.