Monday, November 09, 2015

Mr. George Waters, July 1, 1919 - October 31, 2015

Born July 1, 1919, George Waters served our country for five years in the RCAF during World War 2. This was followed by 15 years with the reserves working as a Recruiting Officer. Mr. Waters retired from the reserve unit in 1966 as a Flight Lieutenant and was awarded the Canadian Forces Decoration (C.D.) for exemplary service. Mr. Waters then went on to serve as the District Human Resources for the Deer Lodge Hospital before retiring in 1985.

Mr. Waters and his wife, Constance, residents in the St. James-Assiniboia for many years, always believed in the St. James-Assiniboia School Division.  They spoke with pride about the education their six children received while attending schools in the east end of St. James-Assiniboia.

Mr. Waters was elected as a School Trustee in the fall of 1965, commencing his first term in January 1966.  Mr. Waters was the chairperson on a number of board committees. He served as Chairman of the Board for four 1-year terms, 1974-1977, and six 1-year terms as Chairman of the Finance/Facilities Committee. 1978-1983.

Mr. Waters was known for his sound knowledge around the Board table. He was highly respected for his responsible financial management, and administration and staff remember George Waters for always placing the interests of the Division’s students first and foremost. He served a total of 18 years as a school trustee, retiring in October 1983.

It was in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s that the Division faced many challenges. These challenges were always met with great energy and a positive attitude by Trustee George Waters. At this time, schools were being built and others expanded to provide facilities to house students. With declining enrollment in the late 1970’s, trustees found themselves dealing with closure, rental and sale facilities. Mr. Waters was a leader in developing the policies which helped the division deal with these critical issues in the 70’s and 80’s.

One of Mr. Waters’ interests was in promoting programs for persons with disabilities. He and his wife Constance devoted many hours to developing organizations such as St. James Industries, Westwood Vocational Centre, and the Laureate Academy for students who are intellectually impaired.

Both Mr. Waters and his wife spearheaded the work experience program in the School Division. As a member of the St. James Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Waters also developed a successful Business Education day. Work experience programs in the Division have grown into a large and valuable component of many school programs, including those for special needs students, adult vocational students, business education students.

Mr. Waters was very active in the Manitoba Association of School Trustees. He served as Director-at-large and was a member of many MAST committees including the MAST General Insurance Committee, and the Provincial Council for the Hilroy Fellowship.

Mr. Waters was a member of the St. James Scholarship Foundation since 1974 and served as President. Mr. Waters instituted two very important scholarships – The Robert Kellow Scholarship and the Deer Lodge Centre Scholarship. Mr. Waters was also actively involved in the development of the Western Aviation Museum and he was a long time member of the Winnipeg branch of the United Nations Association.

In his distinguished career, George Waters has received awards of recognition from MAST; the Mayor’s Office, City of Winnipeg; and the Federal Government. Mr. Waters was also presented with the Confederation Medal of Canada. He also received the "Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal" (2002) and the "Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal" (2012), as well as   the "Paul Harris Rotary International Award", and is the only honorary Lifetime Member of the Chamber of Commerce.

It was with the unanimous consent of all the trustees at the October 26, 1993 Board meeting “that the Junior High wing at St. James Collegiate be named George Waters Junior High.” The official opening of the new junior high was held November 24, 1993.

Mr. Waters passed away on Saturday, October 31, 2015 at the age of 96. Mr. Waters was very proud of George Waters Middle School. He enjoyed every chance he had to be in the school, especially for Remembrance Day ceremonies. As well, the staff and students are extremely proud to attend the school that bears his name. Mr. Waters had a talent for making others feel at ease in his presence. The staff and students at George Waters Middle School will continue to strive to treat people as he treated them, with compassion and integrity.

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