Thomas Gross Waters, Jr. 79, loving husband, beloved father, and cherished grandfather of North Anderson St., Morganton passed away at his home Thursday, September 3, 2009. He was born in Savannah, Georgia on December 17, 1929 to the late Thomas Gross Waters Sr. and Nell Farr Waters. In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by a sister, Gladys Phillips of Savannah Ga. and a granddaughter, Ashley McCurry of Morganton.When Gross was an infant, his father was crippled in a railroad accident at the age of 23, so Gross, the ever doting and attentive son, was always his father's legs. As a young boy, he worked 12 hours each night in Henry Gaston's Ice Plant along with delivering The News Herald, and later worked on the truck that delivered ice across Western Burke County. Even earlier he bought groceries, sold chances on punchboards, and did chores for neighbors to help support his family.Gross attended Morganton City Schools and at the age of 17, joined the U.S. Naval Air Force where he served for 3 years in Olathe, Kansas as an Airman Apprentice. An Honorable Discharge from the Navy led him back to Morganton and then to 3rd shift work at Huffman Mills for 8 years which was work he truly enjoyed.Gross met his sweetheart Martha in 7th grade and they married December 29, 1949. This year marks their 60th year together.In 1958, at the urging of his father-in-law, R.L. Patton, he entered Lenoir Rhyne College and received a B. S. Degree in Economics, completing the 4 year program in just 2 1/2 years. He began his career with Burlington Mills as a Cost Accountant, then spent the next 5 years continuing his education in New York and Atlanta while working with Alba Waldensian as a Computer Programmer and Systems Analyst, all at a time when computers were in their infancy. Even though many business opportunities presented themselves over the years, Gross and Martha chose to stay close to home, put family before financial gain, and looked after their aging parents. Gross continued working in the textile industry with Wamsutta Mills, D.H.J. and Delta Woodside. He retired in 1993 but his love of numbers never waned as Suduko became a favorite pastime, and he continued to prepare taxes for many people.After retirement, Gross spent much of his time at his son Tommy's body shop, tending his father's grapevines, e-mailing friends and family, and following his beloved Yankees...a lifelong passion. Along with the N.Y. Yankees, Boston Celtics, and L.A. Raiders, grocery shopping was also a "sport" he enjoyed, searching every store in town on Saturday morning to find the best value and anything Martha or his grand-children might enjoy. He was always available to run errands or provide transportation to anyone in need, especially his son Joe who had many late night flights. Gross, at a moments notice, would dash off to Charlotte or Greenville to pick him up.Surviving in addition to his adoring wife, Martha Patton Waters, are 3 children, 11 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren: Thomas Gross "Tommy" Waters III and wife, Marylin of Morganton and their children, Tabatha Probst and fiancé, Robert "Sport" Beyers of Jacksonville, FL, David Probst and wife, Amy of Crestview, FL., Matthew Waters and wife, Katie of Charlotte, NC, Mandi"Shell Bell" and Megan Waters, Nicholas "Bubba" and Sarah Michaela "Baby" Evitt all of Morganton; Ruth Elizabeth Waters of Knoxville, TN; Joseph David "Joe" Waters and wife, Kirsten and their children, Savannah, Joey, Abby, and Henry Waters all of Morganton; and great grandchildren, Brendan and Landon Probst and Caroline Beyers...TSOM...A memorial service will be held 2:00 p.m., Monday, September 7, 2009 at The First Baptist Church, Morganton with Dr. Thomas A. Bland, Jr. officiating. The family will receive friends in the church parlor for one hour prior to the service. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial gifts be made to The First Baptist Church, P. O. Drawer 459, Morganton, NC 28680-0459, Burke Mission Station, P. O. Box 642, Morganton, NC 28680-0642, or to Burke Hospice and Palliative Care, Inc., who guided the family on his journey home, 1721 Enon Rd., Valdese, NC 28690.

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