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Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Memorial Tribute to Captain J.C. Waters

August 18, 1941 - February 14, 2012

Captain J.C. Waters teaching a maritime course aboard his schooner Spirit of Independence.  Photo by Joe Elder.
We first met J.C. Waters in the spring of 2006 when he and his daughter Joy visited our store (then at 629 High Street) while on a voyage up the Atlantic coast aboard the"Spirit of Independence". J.C. had recently completed and launched the schooner in his hometown of Independence, Missouri, and was in search of a new location to relocate the schooner. We talked extensively during his first visit about the "Spirit of Independence" and told J.C. all about our quaint historic seaport, Olde Towne Portsmouth. He invited Alison and me to visit his schooner moored at Tidewater Yacht, so we met him after closing for a tour of the Spirit. What a magnificent vessel it was. 

We stayed in contact via e-mail and J.C. kept us abreast of his travel and search for a new place to call home. A year passed by when we received correspondence from J.C. about his plans to return to Portsmouth. After numerous visits to other ports of call, J.C. had chosen Portsmouth to be his new residence. He, like many of us had a vision and could see the potential of Portsmouth as his chosen destination. We all applauded his decision and certainly welcomed him, Marsha and Joy as new residents!

J.C., Marsha and Joy quickly became involved as part of the Olde Towne community and after careful   planning, started his charter business and the "Spirit of Independence" became a regular fixture at the High Street Landing and sailing along the Elizabeth River. Many of Portsmouth and other Hampton Roads residents have crewed along with J.C. and Joy aboard the "Spirit" on weekend sails on the Elizabeth, a sail to Bermuda and as participants in four of the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Races.  We at Skipjack have worked along side J.C. as a booking agent and to assist in marketing his sailing adventures. I personally had the pleasure to be one of the crew on his last Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race- an adventure that I will certainly remember for a lifetime.

Alison and I will forever miss J.C.'s visits to Skipjack, his wonderful Missouri demeanor, his pleasant manner and non-stop smile. Here's to you  J.C.. You will surely be missed by one and all!

Captain J.C. Waters raises the City of Portsmouth flag high above the schooner. Photo by Joe Elder.
Joseph Clinton “J.C.” Waters, was born August 18, 1941, in Independence, MO and graduated from William Chrisman High School where he excelled in track and football.  He earned his Bachelor’s degree from CMSU and his Master’s in Education from UMKC. He taught for many years in the Independence School District, retiring in 1997.

J.C. Waters standing by the hull of the Spirit of Independence. Photo by Joy Waters.
J.C. combined his love of sailing with business as the owner of Porte Des Voyageurs (translated as Door of the Travelers) boat shop in Independence for thirty-five years. He realized his life-long dream by building the seventy-six foot schooner, The Spirit of Independence, which was launched in 2005 from Independence. Following a maiden cruise through rivers and locks to the Atlantic Ocean, the Spirit made her home in Portsmouth, VA where she started charters and tours in 2009.

Captain J.C. Waters at the helm of his schooner "Spirit of Independence." Photo by Allen Graves.
J.C. was an Eagle Scout, a member of the Tribe of Mic-O-Say (Hard-way Warrior Sachem Swift ShootingStar) and a Sea Explorer where he was Skipper of Ship 204 and achieved the Quartermaster Award (similar to Eagle Scout). J.C. was a licensed Merchant Marine Captain granted by the U.S. Coast Guard and a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary. He was also an avid flyer and previously had a pilot’s license. In addition to his sailing and flying skills, J.C. was an accomplished marksman, master carpenter, silversmith and metal fabricator. 

Captain Waters standing on the deck of the Spirit of Independence, Baltimore, Md. , Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race. Photo by Allen Graves.

J.C. was preceded in death by his brother Michael Waters and parents Alfred and Verla Waters. He is survived by his wife of forty-five years, Marsha Waters, of the home; son Jarrod Waters and wife Melinda of Grain Valley, MO; daughter Janet Tracy and husband Carl of Independence, MO; daughter Joy Waters of Chesapeake, VA; brother Paul Waters and wife Nancy of Overland Park,

Schooner Spirit of Independence built by J.C. Waters in Independence, Missouri.

The eighth bell has now been rung,
Your watch is now complete.
But the ship must still be guarded,
and I will not fall asleep.
For tomorrow brings a new adventure
And though the seas be thick,
I will recall my Captain’s words
And hit another lick.

1 comment:

  1. J.C. was such an amazing man, and I'm so proud that he was my father. I miss him everyday and I'm deeply saddened that I'll never be able to talk with him again. I will forever miss our outings together, our conversations, many laughs, and his amazing wisdom. I carry him in my heart everyday and strive to live a life that will make him proud. Love you dad, till we meet again.


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