William Paul “Bill” Waters, “The King of Comeback,” age 82, of Livingston, Montana passed away, Tuesday, June 23, 2020.
Bill was born on June 20, 1938 in Shelbyville, Tennessee to Thelma Gertrude (Elliott) and James Thomas Waters, he was the second of five children and was raised in Shelbyville. He made the move to Montana on January 1st, 1956 at age 17. He joined his cousin who operated the Meigs Ranch as Bill always wanted to do well for himself and he felt Montana had opportunities.
He met the love of his life in July of 1959, Bonnie Harris. He would ask her to be his wife just two months later and they would be married on February 14, 1960. He did not want to worry about forgetting an anniversary, so Valentines day worked well for him.
Bill would soon face being drafted into the Army so he enlisted in the National Guard, and served for six years. He and Bonnie began their family in Livingston with the birth of their daughter, Brenda in 1961 and a son, Rick in 1964. Bill would be gone on Guard Duty for both of their births.
In 1966 he took a job as a night watchman for the Northern Pacific Railroad. He would work his way into an apprenticeship and then became an electrician. In 1985 the family moved to Burlington Iowa when the railroad pulled out to Livingston. Bill would retire from the Burlington Northern Railroad on June 1, 2000. They relocated back to Livingston where they resided with Bonnie’s mom helping to care for her until her passing.
Bill had a whimsical, cantankerous, and funny demeanor. He was 14 going on 82… Bill loved golfing in his younger days back in Iowa, he had even scored a hole-in-one. Out in Montana he had bought a four-wheeler and savored his time crawling around the mountains or plowing snow for the neighborhood. Bill loved his family deeply and was devoted to his wife, his children, and his extended family. He was especially devoted to Sherry and Richard, his sister and brother-in-law, and later Lessee, following Sherry’s passing.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Bonnie; daughter, Brenda Waters-Sherdahl and her partner, Lee Hillman; son, Rick Waters, the daughter-in-law we never had, Kristi (Joel) Viol; his grandchildren, Christopher (Robyn) Sherdahl and their children, Angel and her partner, Koby and Ashlyn; Tony Sherdahl; and Kimberly Sherrell and her children, Caleb and Wyatt; In-laws, Erlynn (Esta) Harris, Charles (Deanna) Harris, Peggy (Jerry) Nardella, David Harris, and Denny Harris; brother-in-law, Richard (Lessee) Tonnesen; numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and other relatives and friends.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents, Thomas and Thelma; siblings, Thomas, Lewis, Saramae, George; and sister-in-law, Sherry Tonnesen; mother-in-law and father-in-law, Bernice and Arlen Harris.
A celebration of Bill’s life will be held later in July, an announcement will be made closer to the date.
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