Billy Wayne Waters, born May 21, 1938 on the family farm in Vivian, Louisiana, passed from this life on May 19, 2021 at age 82 in Inola, Oklahoma. Visitation is Friday, May 21 at Rice Funeral Home, Claremore, Oklahoma from 5:00-7:00. Funeral Services are Saturday, May 22 at Blue Star Church of Christ in Claremore, Oklahoma with graveside service at Floral Haven in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Bill had a creative eye, which he expressed through photography and music. He had a beautiful tenor voice, singing in a choir as a youth, and often leading singing for the church. He overcame many hardships and challenges as a child. In 1955, at age 17, he entered the Navy and was stationed in San Diego and Washington DC until his service ended in May 1959, one day before his 21st birthday. He would say the Navy opened his world to the things he loved most; Traveling and the skills that developed into a career of sophisticated computer programming.
Once he completed his duty in the Navy, he returned to Minden, Louisiana, where he married Mary Belle Smith on December 18, 1959. Together they had two daughters, Sandra Elaine and Marill Jane, and were married 19 years but remained friends until Mary’s death in 2009.
As a young man, Bill worked in Shreveport, Louisiana and Ft. Smith, Arkansas (Ft Chaffey), and then moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma where he and the family would make a permanent home. He worked at Sinclair from 1963 to 1967 and then American Airlines from 1968 until his retirement more than 30 years later. One of his coworkers said, “He had one of the most brilliant minds for programming she had ever seen.“ During his tenure with American he single-handedly wrote and implemented, with one other programmer, what was known as “Agent Sign”, the security system used all around the world. Bill used his analytical abilities to manage many personal projects and extensive travel activities that included a 10-week motorhome excursion to Alaska. His favorite places were those of expansive beauty such as the Southwest. Bill was able to enjoy many adventures traveling throughout all 50 states and abroad with his good friend and travel companion, Glen Crane.
More than anything, Bill was thankful for God’s grace, deeply loved his family, friends, and the church he attended, Blue Starr Church of Christ, in Claremore, Oklahoma.
He is survived by daughters Sandra Crain, Marill Myers and husband Mark Myers, grandchildren Jordan Crain, Whitney Crain Brown and husband Trevor Brown, Hunter Myers and wife Tamara, Hayden Myers, nieces, nephews and friends.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents, Daniel Douglas and Lou Alice Waters, Sisters Virginia Bowman, Pauline Hearn and LaRisa Hearn, and granddaughter Madison Elaine Myers.
The family wishes to express gratitude to those who cared and supported him during his nearly 2-year battle with Stage IV stomach cancer.
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