NORMAN — James Durante “Jimmy” McWater, 74, passed away Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, in Norman. He was born Jan. 1, 1939, in Fort Smith, Ark. to James Wyatt McWater and Mildred Virginia “Bobbie” Croom.
Funeral services will be 1 p.m., Saturday in Havenbrook Funeral Home chapel, with interment following in the Rose Hill Cemetery in Wapanucka.
He married Thelma Lucy Taylor in Norman on Nov. 18, 1961. They were married 42 years until her death in 2003.
He was a graduate of Bokoshe High School in Oklahoma, where he was salutatorian of the class of 1956. He went on from there to graduate from the University of Oklahoma in 1960. Jimmy was an industrial engineer and began working at Tinker Air Force Base after college. He would work there his entire career. He was promoted to GS-13 at a very young age.
After arriving in Norman in fall 1956 to attend school, he lived in Norman his entire life, except for a few years recently when he moved to Oklahoma City to be closer to his granddaughter. He was an avid collector of pre-war toys, metal cap guns and western items, and he was an expert on tanks.
He was a regular at garage sales, flea markets and auctions in the Norman and Oklahoma City areas. He was frequently asked to appraise items from estates for auctioneers.
He was, for many years, a member of the University of Oklahoma chess club and was known for his sharp intellect and his self-reliance.
He was preceded in death by his spouse, Thelma Lucy Taylor McWater; his half-brother, Roy Gene McWater; his half-sister, Sue Jane Kuykendall Hays; and his best friends Frank and Gert Virgilio.
He is survived by his son, David Patrick McWater and his wife Laura Hinsberger McWater; his daughter, Mary Celeste Cochran, wife of Charles Christopher Cochran; one grandchild, Grace McKayla Cochran; a host of in-laws, nieces and nephews; and most notably his sister-in-law, Donna Sue Couch and his nephews Donovan and Jacob Jones, all of whom he had a meaningful avuncular relationship with during his life.
Donations may be made in Jimmy’s honor to the OU Foundation, Thelma Taylor McWater Scholarship, c/o OU Foundation, 100 Timberdell Road, Norman, OK 73019.
Arrangements for Jimmy and his family were placed in the care of the Vice family at Havenbrook Funeral Home.
Online condolences may be shared at www.havenbrookfuneralhome.com.
Norman Transcript, Friday, Jan. 18, 2013