H. Robert ‘Bob’ Waters passed away early Friday, May 31, 2013, from complications following surgery. He was 83.
At age 16, with signed permission from his parents, he joined the U.S. Navy and served during the Second World War. He then attended the National Art School in Washington, D.C. Upon graduation, he joined the P.J. Nee Furniture Co. in Washington, D.C. After an impressive time there, he was invited to come to Racine in 1958 to manage the 101-year-old Porter Furniture Company. In 1960, Bob and Marie Crowley Gottlieb purchased and partnered in the business. For the next 50 years, they grew it into the 80,000 square feet, high-end furniture industry flagship that became known as Porters of Racine.
In the early years, Bob also pioneered a different furniture buying concept with the Furniture Clearance Centers. These stores thrived under Bob's leadership for nearly 30 years in as many as eight locations.
Always a supporter of Downtown Racine and feeling that the "Porters Experience" was not replicable elsewhere, Bob continued to support the downtown area by keeping Porters there even through its most lean years. Bob's final gift to Downtown Racine has been his making possible the renovation of the Porters of Racine Building into apartments and retail so that his and Porters legacy can live on. We are very saddened that he did not live to see it through.
We want to say thank you to the unbelievable number of friends who have supported him through this long process. We had hoped to publicly do that here, but the list grew too long and the fear of missing someone too great. We know and you know who you are. We hope that when you savor those memories that only you and Bob shared - you will smile.
Please take comfort in the knowledge that Bob had a GREAT life! We cannot think of anyone who better took command of his own destiny, so thoroughly enjoyed his career, and relished his journey to the fullest, all done with the unique kindness that was Bob Waters.
We wish so rich a life as Bob's for all of us. The following version of the well known quote aptly applies……
"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, food in one hand, drink in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming....Damn what a ride!"
Here's to his life so richly and fully led!!!
We will be taking Bob back to Lynchburg, Virginia, to join his mother, father and brother.
A very special thank you,
The Waters Family
Relatives and friends may meet at the funeral home on Wednesday, June 5, 2013, from 4- 7 p.m. Interment will take place at Fort Hill Memorial Park, Lynchburg, VA.
MARESH-MEREDITH AND ACKLAM FUNERAL HOME
803 Main St., Racine (262) 634-7888