Avis Robertson Waters passed away peacefully at her home in Rockledge, Florida on November 14, 2021. Born May 7, 1938 in Savannah, Georgia to Medicus Leon and Gertrude Tison Robertson. She is survived by her husband of 60 years, Cleavy Eugene (Gene) Waters. They have eight married children; Keith and Becky Waters, Marilyn and Paul Thompson, Brian and Bridget Waters, Dan and Rebecca Waters, Amy and Tim Alexander, Janet and Steve (1972-2021) Henderson, Paul and Gladys Waters, and Jill and Brent Woodson. Their family has grown to include 35 grandchildren, eight of whom are married, and 11 great-grandchildren.
From childhood on, Avis was instilled with a love and a talent for music. She and her three sisters sang together under their mother’s tutelage and piano accompaniment, learning singing parts and developing their own family choir. Family time was often spent singing together around the piano, and they were always part of the choir at church. “The Robertson Sisters” even sang on the local radio station, and once won a car by winning a talent competition. This talent continued to develop over many years, such that Avis became an example, teacher, director, composer, and organizer of not only family musical experiences, but of countless other individuals and groups whom she helped to develop and share their musical talents. Highlights include church choirs, music and dance festivals, variety shows, and many small musical performances. One of her most joyous experiences was conducting Handel’s Messiah, a sacred musical work that so perfectly conveyed her love of the Savior, Jesus Christ.
Avis was a graduate of Savannah High School where she was on the homecoming court. Her beauty inside and out was also recognized at an annual Gold and Green Ball at church where she was crowned queen of the ball. High school was likely where she learned to write so effectively, and her intelligence and wit led her to dabble in thoughtful and silly poetry which was a delight to everyone. She shared this talent annually by composing fun and touching poems about each member of her dental office family when she worked as a receptionist for several years while her youngest children were in school. Avis’ early work experience included working in at the local Woolworth’s Drug store and at Savannah Credit Union, which allowed her to contribute to her family budget. Not surprisingly, she also sold records at a local record store, including Elvis records, whom she also saw in concert. During her time as a homemaker, she developed entrepreneurial skills as she worked for several home-based businesses. Her outgoing personality made her perfect for this venture.
Avis and Gene met as youths at church but didn’t begin dating until young adulthood. They wrote letters to each other while Gene was gone for two years serving as a missionary for their church, and when he returned they resumed a more serious courtship. They were married for time and all eternity on April 5, 1961 in the Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At the time, a trip like this was challenging and expensive, but it was so important to Avis to be married in the temple that many sacrifices were made to make it happen. Gene likes to say, “ I broke a lot of hearts when I took Avis off the market.”
The gospel of Jesus Christ was the center of Avis’ life. It was her lifetime activity in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and her faith in God that gave her purpose and direction, especially as she and her husband, Gene, were raising their eight children. Her testimony of Jesus Christ, her example of righteous living, and her love of family cannot be understated and will serve as a powerful legacy for generations to come. She shared her testimony with all she came in contact with, friend or stranger. She blessed the lives of many as she accepted calls to serve voluntarily in various capacities at church. Her leadership, talents, and love were felt in children, youth, and women’s organizations of the church, and through her musical calling.
Families are forever, and Avis knew this. Making memories at family gatherings, laughing and talking, singing, playing games, watching sports (she was an avid Orlando Magic fan!), and enjoying family meals and reunions were central to her happiness in this life. Avis was an elect lady, and a loving daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, and friend.