David T. Watters
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David Tutherly Watters


David Tutherly Watters, 61, passed away peacefully at home on November 21, 2018, surrounded by his family, after a courageous battle with cancer. David was born in Spartanburg, SC, the son of the late Alfred Adair Watters Jr. and Natalie Dale Walker Watters.

David attended Spartanburg Day School and graduated from Christ School in Arden, NC. He graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill as a Morehead Scholar with a degree in Journalism. After working for the Winston-Salem Journal as a police reporter, David served for six years in the Marine Corps as an infantry officer. While based at Camp Lejeune, he deployed to the Mediterranean and Western Pacific before spending two years as a Series Commander at the Marine Corps Recruit Training Depot at Parris Island.

David returned to UNC-CH for his Law and MBA degrees after leaving active duty with the Marines. During the first semester of law school he met his future wife, Charlotte Fischer. After graduating, David practiced law in Winston-Salem before joining Wachovia Bank's Wealth Management Division. David later established a law practice in Raleigh, focusing on estate planning and administration. David's service to others, his love of people, and his lifelong ability to nurture friendships served him well in his legal practice as he guided families through difficult times as a trusted advisor, giving sensitive and caring counsel.

David remained active in the Marine Reserves, earning the rank of Colonel. He deployed overseas to Bosnia as a Civil Affairs Officer and to Qatar, Kuwait and Iraq for the early stages of Operation Iraqi Freedom. While there, he served as Senior Deployed Historian for Gen. Tommy Franks and the United States Central Command. Finally, he served in eastern Africa as Director of Plans for the Combined Joint Task Force — Horn of Africa. Prior to retiring from the Reserves, he was asked to write an operational history of the Marine Forces Reserve in Iraq and Afghanistan, which was published in 2008. With the exception of the pride and affection David had for his family, his service as a Marine was one of the most meaningful parts of his life.

David had the gift to encourage, mentor and guide others, and he used this gift generously with his sons, friends, students, attorneys, Marines and Boy Scouts. As an Eagle Scout and the father of two Eagle Scouts, David took pride in his association with scouting and his work with Troop 357, particularly in his role as mentor and leader for a group of young men on a 100-mile, two-week backpacking excursion through Philmont Scout Ranch. Similarly, he was devoted to his children's academic, athletic and musical endeavors.

In addition to his wife, Charlotte, David is survived by his two sons, Mark Harrison Watters of Charlotte, NC, and John Wilson Watters of Chapel Hill, NC; brother A. Adair Watters III (Holly) of Spartanburg, SC; and sisters Ellen Wilkins (Tom) of South Burlington, VT and Florence Godfrey (Richard) of Greenville, SC.

A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, January 8th at 2:00 pm at St. Michael's Episcopal Church, 1520 Canterbury Road, Raleigh, NC. A reception will follow in the Parish Hall.

David and his family would like to thank neighbors, Christ School and law school classmates, Marines, fraternity brothers, friends, clients and business associates for their support and encouragement this past year. Additionally, they also want to express their deepest appreciation for the exceptional health team at the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center for the care they provided. Memorial contributions may be made to The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke, DUMC Box 3624, Durham, NC 27710, or to a charity of one's choice.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The News and Observer on Nov. 28, 2018.
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38 entries
December 14, 2019
What terrible news to learn of David Watters untimely death. He will always be remembered by "The Friends Of Bob Brown" for his pro bono counsel in the case of a 93 old man who was swept up in a "sweet heart" scam which threatened to leave him destitute in the final years of his life. David's arrival at a critical juncture in the course of events made all the difference for a successful outcome. My heartfelt condolence to his family and friends who feel his loss far beyond those of us who knew him only briefly.
TJ Kattermann
July 8, 2019
I am deeply sadden because of your lost. I will truly miss David. He was a man of character. I will never forget the respect he gave my family.
Edward Vick
July 8, 2019
Edward Vick Jr
July 8, 2019
Edward Vick Jr
January 8, 2019
It was such a blessing that my son and I became acquainted with David through our Raleigh scout program. He kept a record of Blaine's achievements on his phone right up to the week he earned his Eagle Award.
At the ceremony it was David who presented the flag once flown over the US Capitol to my son. It was touching to hear him speak of my son's father---a deceased Marine-and how proud he would have been that day.
David was such a special human being. I thank Charlotte and the boys for sharing him with us.
Pat Wiles
Pat Wiles
January 7, 2019
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Thuy Shepherd
January 4, 2019
David was an exceptional person, who provided us all with a great example of grace and kindness. It was an honor to know him and call him friend and his generous spirit is something that will live on in many ways. What a privilege it was to pass through this life alongside such a sweet and admirable person, who made everyone around him better just by sharing his infectious smile.
Beth Smoot
December 22, 2018
An exceptional man in every way. Faithful and good. He inspired me during Marine OCS and TBS. Steve Wasilewski
Steven Wasilewski
December 19, 2018
I'm so sad to hear of Colonel Watters' passing. He was my commanding officer while I was the combat artist for the Marine Corps and a member of his History Detachment. My sincere condolences to the family. Semper fi sir.
Michael Fay
December 19, 2018
I wish I had known David was sick. We were in law school together at Carolina. He was unfailingly kind and conscientious as a study buddy and a dear friend. He had a warm way of making us all feel we were uniquely important to him. My deepest condolences to Charlotte and family.
Kelly Simons
December 13, 2018
I am so deeply saddened by David's passing. He was such a remarkable man. He will always be an inspiration to me and all those who knew and loved him... My deepest sympathy to Charlotte and the boys...
Mike Mebane
December 6, 2018
I am so very sad to hear this news. David was so encouraging as I retooled to practice law. He always was genuinely interested in learning more. Much love to his wife and children, all early supporters of foreign language learning. Our deepest condolences. Jenny and John Doyle, Raleigh
December 6, 2018
I am so terribly sorry to hear of David's passing. My condolences to his entire family.
winston kobe
December 6, 2018
I am so sad to hear of David's passing.

I had the pleasure of printing all of David's military-themed Holiday cards over the years and it was something I always looked forward to.

May God provide you with comfort and peace during this very hard time.
Terri Mansfield
December 5, 2018
I served with him in the History Detachment. A fine man and great Marine officer.

Reed Bonadonna
Reed Bonadonna
December 5, 2018
Charlotte, Mike, and John words cannot express my sympathy for your loss. I feel blessed to have known such a wonderful human being as your David and inspired by the love he had for you.

David was a mentor and leader long before I joined his flock in September 2005. We met in the parking garage of 3737 Glenwood and I felt like we had known each other for years. Always available with a kind word, keen insight, and humble spirit, this selfless and endearing soul set the standard for integrity and honor in all he did.

Even now I picture the twinkle in his eyes as he tells a funny story. Smiling, I recall conversations about shared friends and Marine Corps adventures, and the love he had for both. I am grateful to have known this man who lived a good and joyful life, and in so doing was character personified.

Semper Fidelis my brother.
David Hemmerly
December 5, 2018
Colonel David Watters
David Hemmerly
December 4, 2018
What a wonderful guy! We were great friends at UNC and he was the same always- kind, interested, compassionate. We lost touch and then he befriended our son - a young attorney in Raleigh. Typical David move- always looking out for others. The world was touched by his goodness; let's all learn from that great example.
A sad day for me...
Mitzi Cherry Moye
December 4, 2018
Col David Watters dropping his pack one night in Djibouti (he won!).
What a heavy sorrow it is to learn of David's death.

He added so much life to everything he did and everyone he met. He taught me so much about the Marine Corps, and life, and family.

He taught me indirectly a beautiful custom of referring to his wife, Charlotte, as "my Bride", and I adopted that practice at once. That may seem like a small thing, given all the other things he did but it captures a sliver of the greatness of David's remarkable way of life.

God bless Charlotte, Mark and John, and the rest of his family.
William Hutson
December 4, 2018
This hurts! David and I were close friends at UNC and as I read these comments, I feel even more humbled and honored to be among those touched by his kindness. We reconnected when (in his typical fashion) he befriended my son as a young attorney in Raleigh. The world has lost a true gentleman- my sincere sympathy to his family.
Mitzi Cherry Moye
December 4, 2018
It was a blessing to know David. We were roommates in Winston-Salem when he first started working for the WSJS and I was at Wake for MBA school back in 1980. Oh, the stories from his being on the beat and riding with the police at night!

I remember him as always caring about others and his crazy smart wit (and a bit of funny sarcasm). He used to joke about attorneys so much I was surprised he became one!

May God provide comfort and peace to his family at this difficult time.

Joe Poats
Joe Poats
December 3, 2018
I was honored to serve with David on the Morehead Scholarship Selection Committee in the late 1990's and what a fine man he was to be with. Our friendship took a deeper dive when he found out my youngest son, Wilson Sullivan, was attending the U.S. Naval Academy and was planning to commissioned in the Marine Corps. David befriended my son and came to his graduation in May, 2002. He was also interested in our middle son, Calvin, who was a Christ School " Greenie." David was interested in all people and their journeys. His life was rich in experiences and interests; he died way too young and this is a sad time in North Carolina.
Our thoughts are with Charlotte and Mark and John at this time of loss. This was a life well lived and one devoted to family and country. On January 8th, I will be in Raleigh at the memorial service wearing a special tie that was a surprise gift from David to celebrate my own time in the United States Army, 1968-1970. We will celebrate and uplift a life of service, sacrifice, and dedication to family.
Burr Wilson Sullivan, Lexington, North Carolina
December 3, 2018
I've know David and his family my entire life. Our mothers were best friends and we grew up playing together during summers at Lake Summit. Life brought us back together when he moved to Raleigh and when he went into private practice he became our attorney. It's impossible to describe what an incredible person he was. We will miss him terribly. We lost a good one but I know he is smiling down on us! Our love and support to all of his family.
Steve Moses
December 3, 2018
David was the kindest person and Attorney i have met. David helped me with my Mother's Will and then after her passing was there for me. Charlotte, I am so sorry just learned from another Attorney who knew your husband as also a very kind and caring person. My deepest thoughts for you and your family
Lucille Bell-Norris
December 2, 2018
David was one of the most friendly Ultimate Frisbee parents I've ever met. Glad we got to meet and spend time on the sidelines and wandering around Athens at CCC the last couple of years. Much love and so sorry for your loss to Charlotte, John and Mark
Ginger Long
November 30, 2018
Went about 10 or so years without seeing David. Mark and I went to lower schools together but lost touch over the years. I ran into Mr. Watter's at the YMCA downtown frequently over the last few years post graduation and we reconnected and always had nice conversations when seeing one another. He made a point to speak anytime he would see you and it was always appreciated. He would tell me how his sons were doing (always proud) and never failed to ask about what was going on in my world and genuinely did care. You will be hard pressed to find a finer and more genuine person. You never left a conversation with him not feeling better about life and were given warmth knowing such high character people are still out there. Did not know him incredibly well but could not think more highly of him and consider myself lucky to have our paths cross. Never saw the slightest hint of negativity from him ever, he made a positive impact on all who got the pleasure to be graced by him. Thinking of your family during this time.
John Irby
November 29, 2018
Mrs. Watters please accept my sympathy on David's passing. He was a wonderful person and my attorney. I believe I met you at the office.
Mary L. Madlon
Mary Madlon
November 29, 2018
David embodied the the words "officer and a gentleman." His resolve, compassion, and friendship touched more lives than can be counted.

God bless you, my friend.

Colonel Joseph F. Collins USMCR (Ret)
November 29, 2018
Marine Colonel David Watters was truly a great American. I proudly served with him on active duty at Quantico as a fellow Marine brother-in-arms at The Basic School through the Infantry Officer Course and off to the Fleet Marine Force.It is rare to meet, much less serve with, the likes of Colonel Watters. He was no "half-stepper". Rather, he was an outstanding leader in the truest sense: Smart, dedicated, selfless, motivating, and possessing superb judgment. You can sum up his best virtue in seven easy letters: H-o-n-e-s-t-y. An officer and gentleman, Colonel Watters was always true to himself, his brother Marines, and to the Corps. Semper Fi, Brother David.
John Vaaler
November 29, 2018
Charlotte, Mark and John,

Our deepest condolences for the passing of David. Our hearts are heavy in his passing. We continue to pray for your comfort, strength and peace.

We stand ready to assist, if needed.


Kyle, Sharon, Doug, Marshall and Mason Watrous
November 29, 2018
My heart and prayers go out to his family. My faith is that you all will be reunited.

Through the years, it has been my privilege and a divine blessing to get to know David. Through Christ School Class Alumni Notes, I knew he was a Marine Veteran, but he humbly downplayed that. In fact, he never even mentioned it until I wished him a Happy Veterans Day. He then briefly shared a little bit about his one year tour of duty in harms way. It was wonderful to read, so proud of him beyond what words can convey. He was a saving grace in helping Ben Nash's family endure the sudden tragic loss of Jenna. For David, there simply aren't enough words of praise. He helped so many, so much. His words to me will always be deeply humbling, and have helped me endure some difficult times.

He was so young, too young to be taken, but he accomplished as much or more than anyone who lives a natural life of a hundred years and gets a do-over. He truly seized each day with a lion-heart and a divinely inspired spirit, and the tears of all his family and friends who love him are because of how kindhearted he was, to so many.

To David, Look Homeward Angel, well done, in this life; bravo, bravo, I can never thank you enough for your friendship!!
Robert Page
November 29, 2018
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Robert Page
November 28, 2018
I have had no contact with David since collegemaybe an email or two one time I can't remember why in the world we were in touch then- but I liked him so much. He was friendly and always just himself. And what better thing could he have been?
Julia Cline
November 28, 2018
David was such a lovely chap. I lost my Dad (brain tumor also) whilst a fellow UNC Morehead. David was memorably empathetic, (understandably) unusual/precocious for our type A' undergrad peers at the time, most of whom had not suffered major loss. I took solace then in the Greek notion that the favorites of the Gods die young. So sad to have David join those untimely ranks of favorites, lost too young.
Gloria Webster
November 28, 2018
friend at Christ School. very fond of him
Bruce burris
November 28, 2018
Charlotte, Mark and John--David's passing is a sad event in the lives of all who were lucky enough to know this great American and wonderful human being. I know it must be especially difficult for each of you, whom David loved so much and about whom he talked--and bragged--constantly. He was a kind and selfless warrior, worthy of emulation. Truth be told, though, I find myself smiling and occasionally laughing, as I recall David's devilish sense of humor. (Then-) Major Watters' wit and penchant for mischief kept me, his Marines, and every NATO soldier he befriended in stitches for the entirety of our tour in Bosnia. Rest well and Semper Fi, Marine. Col Bill Sinnott, USMCR
William Sinnott
November 28, 2018
One of the finest guys I've ever met. So sad for the loss to his family.
Ziggy Payne
November 28, 2018
I am deeply sadden to learn of David's passing. The kindness, gentleness, and goodness he exuded was ever-present with every encounter with him. There are not enough words to express the impact he made with as much as a simple phone call. I could hear and feel his interest in all that I had to say. My deepest sympathy to Charlotte and his sons and their families, as well as the rest of his family and friends. David left an indelible impression on everyone who had the privilege to know him.
Judie Meriweather
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