Saturday, September 23, 2023

Bill W. Waters

Pampa High School Class of 1943



Bill W. Waters was born in Lubbock County, Texas.  He attended the first three grades of school at White Deer.  Since 1934, he has resided in Pampa, except for a period of military service during World War II and during his college years.  He graduated from Pampa High School in 1943.  He was a contestant in speaking events in grade school, junior high and high school, and lettered every year for Pampa High School in declamation and debate.  In declamation, he repeatedly won for Pampa High School the District and Regional contests and twice placed third in the State.  While in high school, he was a member of the student council, the National Honor Society, "emceed" the assembly programs, and was selected as "Most Likely to Succeed" by his graduating class.


Going immediately into the Army after graduating from high school, he served with the 171st Engineer Combat Battalion in Europe, where his unit earned three battle stars; and, individually he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for distinguishing himself by meritorious service against the enemy on February 22, 1945, in connection with the assault crossing of the Roer River in Germany while under intense enemy mortar and artillery fire.


Waters attended New York University and was graduated from the University of Texas Law School in 1949 with the degree of Doctor of Jurisprudence.  He was elected president of the freshman law class and later as vice-president of the senior law class.  He was also a member of the law school Honor Council whose duty it was to require and maintain the ethical standards of law students.  He was a member of the Phi Delta Phi Honorary Legal Fraternity.  While in law school, he served for three years as a Quizmaster, or assistant to instructors.


Bill W. Waters has practiced law in Pampa since 1949.  He was elected County Attorney of Gray County in 1950 at age 25, served four years in that office, and was elected District Attorney of the 31st Judicial District at age 29 in 1954, in which office served 14 years.  In 1965, Waters was president of the state-wide District and County Attorneys' Association of Texas.  Leaving public office for full-time practice of his profession at the end of 1968, he was elected in 1978 and served for three years as District Director of the State Bar of Texas, representing licensed attorneys within the forty Texas Panhandle counties, and was later a member of the nine-person State Bar of Texas Professional Ethics Committee appointed by the Supreme Court of Texas.  Waters was a member of the 18-person committee which drafted the Texas Model Rules of Professional Conduct for attorneys. He is a Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.


Waters was named 1989 Pampa Citizen of the Year pursuant to having served as Chairman of the Prison Steering Committee which successfully procured the Rufe Jordan Unit state prison facility for Pampa.  In 1992 with Waters again chairing the Steering committee, Pampa obtained a prison expansion as an intermediate sanction facility named the Wm. P. Baten Unit.  Both prisons have added about 400 new jobs for the area.  Although not a member of Rotary International, he was named a 75th Anniversary Paul Harris Fellow of the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International in recognition of work for furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations between peoples of the world.  Though not himself a Mason, he was awarded the Masonic Grand Lodge of Texas Community Builder Award in 1990.


Waters has been a Trustee of the M. K. Brown Foundation since 1968, and has served as its Chairman since 1974.  He also is a Trustee and Secretary of the Gray-Pampa Foundation (the "Lovett" foundation).  Waters has served as a Director, Vice-President and as President of Pampa Industrial Foundation,  a Director and Secretary of the Original board of Pampa Youth and Community Center, and an original Director and first President of Pampa Economic Development Corporation.  Waters has served as a director of Security Federal Savings and Loan Association, and later as a director of Citizens Bank & Trust Co., and is now a director of Fairview Cemetery Association, and an advisory Director of First State Bank of Miami, Texas.  He represented Pampa as a member of the Board of Directors of Canadian River Municipal Water Authority by appointment of the Pampa City Commission.


Waters is a charter member of Church of Christ, Mary Ellen at Harvester, and has previously served as a Bible class teacher and a Deacon.


In addition to being the senior partner of the Pampa law firm of Waters, Holt & Fields, he also owns and operates farm and ranch lands in Gray and Wheeler counties.  As a hobby, he maintains a collection of fourteen classic cars ranging in vintage from 1930 to 1967.

 When asked recently whether he has any plans to retire, Waters said, "Old lawyers never retire. . .they might just lose their appeal."

 Bill W. Waters has been, for more than fifty years, a Pampan by choice, and is proud to call it "home."


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