Joseph Ervin Waters, 101, of Temple, was born February 23, 1918, to John Simpson Waters and Dora Cornelia Ponton in Lee County, Texas. He passed from this life on Monday, April 1, 2019. He married the love of his life, Mary Bunner, in June 1959. Ervin was preceded in death by his parents; and his siblings, Barton Waters, Willis Waters, Lyngle Waters, Erma Craig, and Hattie Podany.
Those left to honor and cherish his memory are, his wife, Mary Waters; 4 daughters, Ramona Burnett, Sherri Durham and husband Mark, Jayna Ash and husband James, and Susanne Waters; 7 grandchildren, Hanna Ash Stein and husband Niles, Trevor Burnett and wife Brooke, James Ash and wife Kelsey, Preston Burnett, Alexander Durham, Hope Ash, and Katherine Durham; 1 great-grandchild, Haven Stein.
Ervin has lived a long and good life, one that linked antiquity with modernity. He grew up playing at the feet of a great-grandfather who was born the year after the Alamo (1837), riding in a horse-drawn wagon to brush arbors for church meetings, preaching where people might bring food rather than payment for support, to later spreading the Word in the modern comforts of today in this cyber age.
Ervin spent his early years in Temple schools where his skills as a public speaker appeared early on; he excelled at public speaking and debate. He was also an accomplished athlete, participating in Temple High School state playoffs in football, and winning state titles in track. During this time he also was able to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. As salutatorian of his graduating class, his stellar academic success set him on track to attend the University of Texas for a degree in chemical engineering, but his desire for preaching arose and the rest is history.
Ervin’s greatest delight was to study and preach the Word of God. He spent his life as a soldier of Christ, where he preached his first sermon at the 15th Street Church of Christ in Temple at the age of 17. With a career that spanned more than 8 decades, he preached at every opportunity, across the U.S. and into Eastern Europe, establishing countless churches (over 50 in California alone) and baptizing an untold number of souls into the body of Christ. Ervin’s ability to delve into scripture and, in his words, “wrap my mental fingers ‘round” the truths found therein was one of his greatest gifts and one that helped to shape the theology of his generation. Ervin’s other delight is genealogy, wherein he has traced his lineage on both sides, almost back to the beginning of time! Among many other things, Ervin has testified before Congress on the conscientious objector issue, been a radio show host, an editor of religious publications, a medical and radiology technician, director of the Senior Center in Fresno, California, trainer of young evangelists, avid reader, lifelong learner, and loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather to his family. He was a legend, and he will be greatly missed.