Cornelia McCreary Waters (Nitzy) died on Tuesday, August 9, 2022. She was born January 1, 1929, in Hamlet, NC, to Dr. and Mrs. A. B. McCreary.

Her family moved to Jacksonville, FL, where she later attended, and graduated from, Landon High School. She went on to attend Florida State College for Women which, in 1947, was changed to Florida State University. She was a member of Kappa Delta Pi honorary society and Alpha Gamma Delta social sorority. She graduated from FSU with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Upon marrying Bob Waters she moved to Lakeland in 1950. She taught 9th grade English and 12th grade Speech at Lakeland Junior/Senior High School before starting a family. She and her family attended First Presbyterian Church where she attended Circle meetings, served on the board of Women of the Church, co-chaired Women’s Bible Study, and taught 10th grade Sunday School.

Active in the community, Mrs Waters was President of the Junior Welfare League later known as the Junior League of Greater Lakeland. After visiting museums around the state, she proposed the idea of a youth museum to the Junior Welfare League. Opened in 1967, the Polk County Youth Museum was later changed to the Polk Public Museum and then the Polk Museum of Art. She loved acting in the Junior League’s Children’s Theatre which brought plays to the Polk County elementary schools. Being a witch was her favorite character, which she reinvented in the haunted house held in the family’s basement at Halloween. Due to her love of the arts, Mrs Waters was particularly pleased to work with the Arts Committee of the Junior Welfare League to bring the Orlando Symphony Orchestra to the Mayhall Auditorium for the Polk County elementary schools (before Lakeland’s own symphony orchestra).

Mrs Waters served on the Board of Directors of the Lakeland Symphony Orchestra, Girls Club (Girls, Inc.), and the United Way, to name a few. She was a member of Ringling Fine Arts Committee in Sarasota, Friends of Lakeland Library, Finer Things Antique Club, PEO Chapter CP, Circle 9, docent at the Polk Museum of Art, and docent at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg. She and her daughter, Debbie, opened the original Frame Factory and Art Gallery in 1977.

She loved the North Carolina mountains, the beaches of Little Gasparilla Island and Anna Maria Island, and especially loved her FSU Seminoles.

Mrs Waters was preceded in death by her husband, Robert G. Waters. She is survived by her children Debbie (Hollis) Hooks, of Lakeland, Griner Waters, of Valle Crucis, NC, and Susie (Doug) Tart, of Banner Elk, NC. She is also survived by her grandchildren Emily Hooks, Hamilton (Neda) Hooks, Douglas (Laura) Tart, and Bobby (Dani) Tart and
great-grandchildren Kate Szilvasy, Stella and Hamilton Hooks, and Weston Tart.

A celebration of life service will be held on Friday, August 26, 2022, at 10:30 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church where she was a faithful member for 72 years. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to First Presbyterian Church or Girls, Inc. Condolences may be sent to the family at Heath Funeral Chapel.

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