Taking Back What Was Once Lost

Wellington Waters, Rest In Peace


My favorite cousin in the entire world passed away this past Monday, April 26, 2010 from pancreatic cancer. He was 58 years old.

Skip, as he was called, was an amazing person and all week I’ve reflected on just how lucky I was to have known him in my life.  He overcame a string of huge obstacles late in life. He was forever shaped by his experiences and the wisdom he had as a result of it made you understand how even the rough parts of life can serve a positive end.

He was a computer guru and talented graphics artist who ran his own very successful company  (Waters Edge Grafixx) doing work for everyone from the NAACP to the Ludacris Foundation. He created incredible artwork in almost every medium and he was always an artist first and foremost. He was a budding photographer and spent hours with my dad taking informal lessons and posting his pictures on Flickr.


Skip was funloving and hilarious, brilliant beyond belief and loved his family. Have you ever met someone who could talk in depth about every subject–politics, history, religion, psychology, etc.? Well, that was Skip. He was one of those people you wanted everyone you knew to meet. I will miss most our 2-3 hour conversations late at night about everything under the sun and his genius in everything related to technology. I will always remember how his spirit handled this illness with calm reserve, graciousness and thoughtfulness.

We worked for several months last year on the booklet for our family reunion. Of course his graphics skills made it unlike any family program you’ve ever seen:

Reunion Cover

With typical genealogical focus, I stressed to him that we must get him on videotape talking about his amazing life. Luckily, my dad did it–and the result is a 2.5 hour conversation that will be treasured.

This is one of my favorite pictures of him posing with me and some of our other cousins, Aminah and Jamilah last October, 2009:


My darling Skip, how glad I am that you are not in anymore pain. How happy and enriched my life is to have known you. You were a truly unique person whose depth of knowledge kept me in constant amazement. The impact you left in the hearts and souls of your family and friends will keep your memory alive and cherished always.

Wellington “Skip” Waters: Nov 13, 1951-April 26, 2010


  1. Tericka's Gravatar Tericka
    October 21, 2010    


    Your eloquent detail for words never cease to amaze me…I am in total awe reading this post of your cousin “Skip” for the 1st time. He sounds like he was most amazing just like you…I am so grateful to have met you and continue to have you in my life!!!

    These words made me tear up:

    “I will always remember how his spirit handled this illness with calm reserve, graciousness and thoughtfulness.”

    I love you and Sebby so much:-)

    Your girl, your sister and your friend always,

  2. Brandon's Gravatar Brandon
    August 16, 2012    

    I did not even know that this website existed, I look for something on uncle Skip about once a month and this is the first time I found something of this magnitude.

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About Me

I blog, teach, write and lecture about family history research and it's just as rewarding today as it was when I began 18 years ago. This lifelong quest has helped me to better know my past and I've taken back--reclaimed- my kin and some of that lost memory.  

Post History

What I Talk About

Locations and Surnames

Hardin, Chester and Lawrence Counties, TN
Holt, Barnes, Harbour, Bradley Springer and Fendricks
Lawrence County, AL
Springer and Fendricks
Montgomery County, MD
Prather, Simpson
Somerset County, MD
Waters, Fountain, Curtis
Duval and Madison County, FL
Smith, Harris, Garner

Favorite Family History Quotes

"The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past."
-William Faulkner

"Call it a clan, call it a network, all it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one"
- Jane Howard

"Friends are God's apologies for relations."
-Hugh Kingsmill

"No matter what you've done for yourself or for humanity, if you can't look back on having given love and attention to your own family, what have you really accomplished?"
-Elbert Hubbard

"Families are like fudge; mostly sweet with a few nuts."

"If you can't get rid of the skeleton in your closet, you might as well make it dance!"

"Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city;)"
-George Burns

"Where does the family start? It starts with a young man falling in love with a girl. No superior alternative has yet been found."
-Winston Churchill

"The great gift of family life is to be intimately acquainted with people you might never ever introduce yourself to had life not done it for you."
-Kendall Hailey

"If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all the generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people."
-Thich Nhat Hanh