Gola Edward Waters

September 29, 1929September 13, 2020

Gola E. Waters, 90, passed away on September 13, 2020, in Dallas, Texas surrounded by his four children. Gola was born at the start of the Depression in Kewanee, Illinois, to Gola H. Waters and Emily Driessen Waters. He graduated from Kewanee High School. Gifted athletically, he was a starter on the football, basketball, and baseball teams of the great Kewanee Boilermakers. He loved Kewanee and his classmates of the Class of 1947. He was a proud altar boy, golf caddy and Eagle Scout.

Awarded a basketball scholarship, he graduated from St. Ambrose College in Davenport, Iowa, with a B.S. degree in chemistry in 1951. After a brief stint in the U.S. Army, Gola graduated from the University of Iowa with a law degree in 1954. He met his future wife, Patsy Gannon, on a blind date at an Iowa Hawkeye football game arranged by St. Ambrose/Marycrest friends. They were fantastic dance partners—particularly adept at the jitterbug. With all that joint talent, Pat and Gola married in 1957 in Petersville, Iowa. Armed with a law degree, Gola worked in industry in personnel/labor relations in Portsmouth, Ohio, and DuQuoin, Ill. After work each day, he drove to Carbondale to attend nightly classes toward obtaining a master’s degree in management at Southern Illinois University (SIU-C). He also worked for Pure Carbon in St. Mary’s, PA. Recruited by SIU-C, Gola and Pat packed their four children into a station wagon, and Gola began his teaching career as a lecturer in the Department of Management. After obtaining a Ph.D. in Government in 1970, he quickly moved up the faculty ranks to become a Professor of Finance. In 1979 he was awarded the first Great Teacher Award presented by the SIU Alumni Association.

His contributions to the College of Business were many and varied, including leadership positions as the Director of the MBA program, Associate Dean of the College, and Interim Dean of the College of Business. The Gola E. Waters Accounting Scholarship was established in his honor. The University placed him in the Henry J. Rehn Society, a prestigious giving society at the University. The alums were always quick to recount the horrors they faced if they were unprepared for class, turned in a less-than-stellar paper, or heaven forbid, wore a baseball hat in class. His exams were notoriously difficult, always including a none-of-the-above option, which pushed his students to a higher level of critical reasoning. Ever the professional, Gola always wore a freshly pressed shirt and a nice, conservative tie. Combined with his crewcut, his watch twisted to the side, and his fastidiously shined shoes, he looked the epitome of a no-nonsense academic. He wanted his students to know you have to look serious to be taken seriously. The students’ encomiums and stories are too vast to recount, but the website at the College will keep you laughing. Gola was influential in mentoring his students both during and after graduation. Consequently, the business world is replete with his protégés.

He became Executive Director of the SIU Foundation in 1991, a natural fit with his law degree and extensive network of alums. After returning to the faculty in 1996, he retired from the University in 1997.

Retirement was an easy transition for him, as he had already perfected the fine art of napping. Aside from napping, Gola and Pat traveled extensively to various parts of the world with their friends. (This fact always flabbergasted his children, as we once laughed uproariously when he got lost at the Alamo.)

After a trip, they were always eager to return home to their neighbors and friends, The Potluck Group (affectionately called The Casserole Club by Gola), Saluki Sports and all the tailgaters and fans, his golf buddies, church friends, and all their former students who settled in southern Illinois. He especially liked visiting and seeing his kids and grandkids, and loved Christmas on Lark Lane when they all gathered around him.

Lucky for us, in their late, late years, Pat and Gola relocated to Dallas to be spoiled by their daughter’s family. Proud Texan in the end, he joyfully outsang the fine cantors at Christ the King. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Pat, of Dallas, Texas, and his lucky four children, Philip Waters of Columbus, Ohio, Ann Beytagh (Patrick) of Dallas, Texas, Mary Pat Boehler (Paul) of Morristown, N.J. and Michael Waters (Linda) of Brownsburg, Ind. His niece, Sheila Shea Hope (Pat) of Chanhassen, MN, was another daughter to him. He is also survived by his really lucky seven grandchildren, John Boehler (Alex), Betsy Boehler (fiancé Brian Lattanzio), Andrew Beytagh, Mary Clare Beytagh, Meredith, Katie and Anne Waters. He is also survived by his brother Jerry (Judy) of Davenport, Iowa, and many nieces and nephews. He gave generously of his time and talent to his parish church, St. Francis Xavier, the Knights of Columbus, and the Diocese of Belleville, and prayed fervently for vocations to the priesthood.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Thursday, September 17, 2020, at 10:00 a.m., Christ the King Catholic Church, Dallas, Texas, with Rosary preceding the Mass at 9:30 a.m. Celebration of the Mass by concelebrants Fr. Ryan Hiaeshutter, Fr. Robert Flannery, and Fr. Ambrose Strong, O.Cist. Burial will be held on Saturday, September 19, 2020, at Sacred Heart Cemetery, Maquoketa, Iowa at 10:30 a.m., by Fr. Austin Wilker.

We will miss him terribly. The light is dimmer here today and brighter (and funnier) where he has gone, but his memories and his wisdom will be with us forever. He waits for Mom to dance again. A celebration of his life at a Memorial Mass will be held in Carbondale, IL, at a later date. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Gola E. Waters Accounting Scholarship, SIU Foundation, 1235 Douglas Drive, Mail Code 6805, Carbondale, Ill. 62901; or SIU Foundation—Saluki Athletics, in memory of Gola Waters, SIU Athletic Department-Development, Lingle Hall Mail Code 6620, 1490 Douglas Drive, Carbondale, Ill. 62901.


  • Rosary

    Thursday, September 17, 2020

  • Mass of Christian Burial

    Thursday, September 17, 2020


Gola Edward Waters

have a memory or condolence to add?

Erin Connelly

September 18, 2020

We have been Pat and Gola’s neighbors in Carbondale for the last 15 years. We miss them so! They were so kind to us and our children. I have so many special memories of them. The house next door is not the same without them. I look forward to the day I get to see them both in heaven. Gola truly was a special man. Much love to your family during this time. Love the Connellys from Lark Ln.

Cheryl Curl

September 17, 2020

Hugs prayers and love go out to all the Waters family. Corrine Miller from Delmar fondly remembers Gola and Pat along with their four children making summer trips to Iowa. It always was a delightful visit and they came bearing peaches. At Christmas time Corrine always looked forward to the box of goodies she received from 3M, Complements of Gola and Pat. God bless and Rest In Peace.

Donna Attig

September 17, 2020

It was an honor to know him and Mrs. Waters here inCarbondale

Thom and Clare Mitchell

September 17, 2020

What a great obituary for an extraordinary man. Our lives are richer because we knew him. We shall always remember his deep voice at Mass and the twinkle in his eye during conversations. Our sympathies to all who loved him.

Shirley & Don Beggs

September 17, 2020

Phillip, Ann, Mary and Mike we are saddened to learn of your wonderful dad’s passing. Gola was truly one of a kind who cared deeply about others and enjoyed life to the fullest. Don will always remember Gola as a student in his statistic classes and how hard he worked to surpass the younger graduate students. The Beggs and Waters families were intertwined in many ways throughout the years in Carbondale. We send our love and condolences to dear Pat and to each of you. Shirley & Don Beggs

Jane Marie Miller

September 16, 2020

Dear Waters Cousins, my prayers and grateful thoughts to you for sharing Gola. He left the earth a better place for what he accomplished and who he has been. Gola was a very positive influence on me as a teenager living in Delmar, Iowa. When Pat and Gola would visit Gramps (my Great Uncle Mike Gannon) in Delmar it would give me not a chance but opportunity to sit and visit with them. When Gola spoke I listened, get your education. When Gola and Pat attended mass with Gramps at the St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Delmar. Gola's voice and singing could be HEARD, as be bold for the Lord. Honored and Blessed to know Gola......

Kathy Williams

September 16, 2020

My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Waters family. Your father was a cherish treasure to you all.

God Bless.

John Waters

September 15, 2020

I'm very sorry to learn of Gola's passing. I've nothing but fond memories of him. God bless Gola and his family.

John & Norma Waters
Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Cathie Waters-Anderson

September 15, 2020

I am so sorry to hear the passing of Uncle Gola. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Cathie, Mike and Jacquelin Anderson

Paul Waters

September 15, 2020

Our condolences on Gola's passing.
Paul & Mary Anne Waters
Ft Wayne, IN


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