John B. Waters Jr., age 88 of Sevierville, Tennessee, died Saturday, April 14, 2018. Prior to his death, John served as “of counsel” to Long, Ragsdale & Waters where his son and grandson currently practice.
From 1961 through 1984, John Waters was a partner in the law firm of Hailey, Waters, Sykes & Sharp in Sevierville, Tennessee. There he had a general practice for many years, which included numerous trials. Later in his career he focused on estate planning and probate.
In 1969, President Nixon nominated Waters as Federal Co-Chairman of the Appalachian Regional Commission. Waters served in this position in Washington D.C. until 1971.
In 1984, President Reagan nominated John Waters to the Tennessee Valley Authority Board of Directors. In 1992, President Bush named Waters Chairman of the TVA Board. His term expired on May 18, 1993. While a TVA Director, Chairman Waters was actively involved in TVA’s nuclear power operations. Waters was a member of the Board of Directors of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) and a member of the American Nuclear Society. He was elected to the Governing Board of the World Association of Nuclear Operations (WANO). Waters also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the U.S. Council for Energy Awareness and the American Committee on Radwaste (ACORD). He felt his most valued contribution to TVA was addressing the demands on the river system from the view of a native East Tennessean.
Until his death, Waters remained active in Republican politics and Sevier County civic matters. He was Chairman of the U.S. Senate Campaign of Howard H. Baker, Jr. in 1964. He served as a member of the Sevierville Housing Authority, a member and chairman of the Sevier County Industrial Development Board, chairman of the Sevierville Library Foundation, member of the Governor’s Committees on Economic Development, Tennessee representative to the Southern Growth Policy Board, Trustee of East Tennessee Baptist Hospital, and member of the Tennessee – Tom Bigbee Waterway Authority. Waters founded the Leadership Sevier program and was in the 1986 class of Leadership Knoxville. He also was a founding director of the Friends of the Smokies.
Waters authored the book Downbound which was published in 2000. This book describes the river system from the Little Pigeon River in Sevier County, Tennessee, through the Tennessee and Ohio rivers and down the Mississippi to New Orleans, using stories and anecdotes from John Waters, Jr.’s life and career.
John Waters was proud of his family’s heritage as Tennessee attorneys, extending over five generations. Waters’ grandfather, son and grandson all were members of the Tennessee bar.