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  • Skip Waters: 1953-2014

    By WCTI Staff
    Published On: Oct 28 2014 09:21:31 PM CDT
    Updated On: Oct 29 2014 08:43:53 PM CDT
    EASTERN CAROLINA -

    NewsChannel 12 and FOX Eastern Carolina are sad to announce the passing of Chief Meteorologist Skip Waters. He was 61 years old.

    Skip passed away at his home from what appeared to be natural causes, Trent Woods Police Chief Tony Lee said Tuesday evening. Skip's family has been notified.

    WCTI Vice President and General Manager Lyle Schulze recalled seeing Skip Monday afternoon. Skip initially said he was not feeling well.

    "He called me [Monday] night at 7 o'clock and said he was feeling much better and he was looking forward to coming in to work [Tuesday]," said Lyle.

    "Our hearts are saddened with the news of Skip's passing," Lyle continued. "The WCTI family is a tight-knit group who works hard to bring news and weather to all of Eastern North Carolina and Skip was a huge part of that family. There are no words to describe his loss to the WCTI family."

    (CLICK HERE: Photos of Skip from our viewers.)

    Skip is survived by his mother, stepmother, sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew. Funeral arrangements are being made.

    MOTHER'S REACTION:

    Skip's mother, Joyce Jones, posted the following Facebook message after her son's death.

    "I was with him from Wednesday [Oct. 22] through Saturday [Oct. 25]. I know of no one more devoted to his community and to his profession.

    "He had been a hard worker for 32 years and no doubt, learned a great deal over those years. As his mother, I can tell you the man cared about everyone (four-legged or two-legged).

    "He called me every night faithfully for many, many years. The only times he missed were when he did public events and were past my bedtime. So you will know and based on my conversation with him [Monday] night, he was wearing a Holter monitor for monitoring of his heart condition.

    "I am proud of the heart Skip Waters had for all people, whether they were perfect or not! I thank all who saw that spirit in him! There is certainly a hole in my heart as I try to absorb the loss I feel-- for myself and for all those he cared about. And, I am thankful for the blessing of spending those few days just passed and the memory of our last conversation!"

    SKIP'S EARLY LIFE:

    Born on March 17, 1953 in Greensboro, N.C., Skip attended North Fort Myers High School in North Fort Myers, Fla.

    From fall 1970 through spring 1971, he was the science, geography and miscellaneous team representative on the "High School Quiz Bowl" on WBBH-TV 20 in Fort Myers.

    After attending college at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Skip returned to Fort Myers and worked as a meteorologist at WEVU-TV 26 from October 1976 through April 1982.

    SKIP AT NEWSCHANNEL 12:

    Skip returned to North Carolina in April 1982 to work at NewsChannel 12. He was hired as the chief meteorologist, one of two meteorologists who worked at the station.

    NewsChannel 12 only had the morning , noon, 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts back then. Skip did the two evening shows.

    Although Skip worked in front of a green screen in the 1980s, the technology was not nearly as advanced as it is now. One of the main reasons Skip was hired was to introduce new technology-- to bring science as well as weather forecasts to his audience. In fact, the Doppler radar was introduced after Skip started.

    WCTI Programming Director Carolyn Stevens had been working with Skip since he was hired. She said Skip was always on top of his education, and always wanted to be fully informed of the latest technologies and meteorology techniques.

    "He always wanted to be the best for the community," said Carolyn.

    Carolyn added that Skip was always Skip. Despite the evolution in technology and weather forecasts, Skip's personality never changed.

    "Always been steady as it goes, spot on. You don't mess with the best," Carolyn said.

    With more than 32 years years at NewsChannel 12, Skip was the longest-tenured meteorologist in the station's 51-year history.

    NOTABLE FORECASTS:

    Skip tracked numerous hurricanes that impacted Eastern Carolina, including Bertha and Fran in 1996, Dennis and Floyd in 1999, Isabel in 2003, Ophelia in 2005, Irene in 2011, Sandy in 2012, and Arthur this year.

    Bertha was formed in July of 1996-- very early and unusual for a hurricane, Carolyn recalled. A lot of people dismissed Bertha as a threat, but Skip saw it coming.

    Carolyn also remembered Hurricane Floyd in 1999.

    "[Skip] forecast to us the impact of Floyd before it even hit the area, so we could get our mindset around it," Carolyn said. "He knew how devastating it was to this whole area, and was able to talk everyone through without being an alarmist... how severe it was going to be without setting off panic. He was really good at that."

    COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT:

    Skip is also known for his involvement in the community.  He emceed the annual Cystic Fibrosis Telethon every year ever since was hired.

    "He was the master emcee-- always the go-to guy because he always got a good response from viewers," said Carolyn.

    During one CF Telethon, Skip had his head shaved live on-air so someone would donate $500. That person followed through with the donation.

    "He had such a special relationship with all the CF patients who participated," Carolyn said.

    "He never seemed to forget a face. He never seemed to forget a name," said anchor Jaime McCutcheon. "You'd work events with him and anyone who came up to him, he'd remembered exactly where the last time he was that he saw them. And he would even remember something special about each and every person. He learned something about every person. We'd never forget that."

    In addition to the telethons, Skip was a "huge animal activist" and was very active in events for The Humane Society, said Carolyn. Over the course of his career, Skip adopted many dogs that needed homes.

    Another passion for Skip was teaching young children in our viewing area. He made hundreds of school visits each year.

    "Skip was one of those people who made everyone he met feel special, and he could remember personal things about them that-- it was always very welcoming. It was like he never met a stranger," said Carolyn.

    STORIES OF SKIP FROM COLLEAGUES:

    Anchors Brian North and Wes Goforth had worked with Skip for 16-and-a-half years and 18 years respectively. They reflected on the positive impact that Skip had at NewsChannel 12 and FOX Eastern Carolina.

    "My first memory of Skip when I first got here as a young, enthusiastic sports guy," said Brian. "Before the days of GPS and before the days of the real big internet stuff, I needed directions to get to all these schools to learn how, and I would always go to Skip because he knew every back road and how to get places."

    Wes said Skip was similarly helpful to him when he first started.

    "When I came into town, [Skip] got me to my first haircut, my first dental appointment, my first rental appointment, realtor," said Wes. "You know, if you needed something, he's the go-to guy."

    "What's really hard is what he passed on to people-- the charities that he did, things he gave away, things that people don't know about but I'm sure we're going to hear over the days," recalled Brian. "The time he gave, not only the school visits that he did and the animal shelters he helped take care of, but the little things that people didn't know about-- Virginia Foye, our morning anchor for many years, how he helped her through her tough times in the last decade."

    "And he still went over to see Virginia in her nursing home every month or so," Wes added.

    "[Skip's] signed more autographs than probably anyone in history," said Brian. "He always had a moment for everybody. What I always remember is he remembered everybody. He could remember names and instances, and there was always a connection that he could have with every viewer that was special that I've never seen anyone else ever have."

    "Years ago, when they built the new set in the studio here at WCTI, Skip had to clean out about 200 square feet of what most people would say was junk," Wes recalled. "It was how many hundreds of t-shirts, little caricatures that kids had given to him, memos, caps, all kinds of stuff, and you know what? He didn't throw them away, he took them to his garage."

    "He gave ties. He would bring in hundreds of ties to give to the younger reporters who needed them," said Brian. "You can never replace a guy like Skip Waters. He's one-of-a-kind. He's broke the mold and was just a wonderful human being."

    "[Skip had] the greatest sense of humor of anybody I've worked with in decades of TV," Wes said. "Skip Waters had a blessed life. He had some wonderful friends-- thousands of you. He was a happy man and it's just tough to lose him and say goodbye."

    (CLICK HERE to watch the video of the interview with Brian and Wes.)

  • Man arrested after allegedly shooting neighbor

    By WCTI Staff
    Published On: Oct 30 2014 03:02:58 AM CDT
    JUSTIN MILLS
    NEWPORT, CARTERET COUNTY -

    A man has been arrested in connection with a shooting in Newport on Wednesday night.

    Carteret County Deputies tell us Justin Kyle Mills, 34, is accused of shooting his neighbor, Michael LeClair, 54, with a rifle after an argument over Mills' barking dogs.

    This happened around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday night on Gales Creek Road.

    LeClair suffered one gunshot wound to the lower torso. He was flown to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville.

    Mills is charged with one count of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious bodily injury and was placed in the Carteret County Jail under a $100,000.00 bond.

  • New Bern native shares memories of Skip Waters

    By Amber Roberts
    Published On: Oct 29 2014 06:00:37 PM CDT
    Updated On: Oct 29 2014 09:30:00 PM CDT
    EASTERN CAROLINA -

    New Bern native and NewsChannel 12 employee Kelsey Bennett shares some of her fondest memories of Chief Meteorologist Skip Waters.

    Skip passed away at his home from what appeared to be natural causes, Trent Woods Police Chief Tony Lee said Tuesday evening. Skip's family has been notified.

    Bennett says Skip inspired her to become a competitive swimmer. Growing up, Bennett would see Skip swimming at Courts Plus Fitness Center in New Bern. She recognized him as her local weather man, and was inspired by his dedication to swimming. Bennett later went on to swim at the college level.

    Skip would regularly swim at Courts Plus Fitness Center, one of his many joys.

  • Former NewsChannel12 Anchors Remember Skip Waters

    By Leland Pinder
    Published On: Oct 29 2014 07:09:12 PM CDT
    Updated On: Oct 29 2014 07:14:48 PM CDT
    EASTERN NORTH CAROLINA -

    In his 32 years at WCTI NewsChannel12 Skip Waters had an impact on many, if not every, employeee at the news station. He saw many come and go in front of the camera and behind the scenes. Three former co-anchors took time to reflect on their friend and colleague.

    Colleen Maloney- Roberts, NewsChannel12 anchor from 2000-2010 shares a fond memory of WCTI NewsChannel12 Chief Meteorologist.

    "You know that song, you're in the money! you're in the money!" sang Maloney-Roberts. "Well Skip would always go, Colleen Maloney, Colleen Maloney and made some other silly  words to go with it but it...he was so cute," said the former anchor.

    Maloney-Roberts remembers Skip as just a regular guy and a good friend.

    "The public knew Skip just like we did as his co-workers, as a warm and humble human being who knew no stranger," said Maloney-Roberts.

    The two were also neighbors.

    "When you see someone on walks and you pass them in the car and you spent 10 years working with them then you get this kind of news...it ruins your day."

    The evening of October 28th was a hard day for Maloney-Roberts, everyone at Newschannel12 and all of Eastern North Carolina. Former NewsChannel12 anchor Jami Turner remembers how dedicated Skip was to the station and viewers.

    "You could go to work at three o'clock in the afternoon, get off at eleven thirty, go home, walk through that door and be done with it but it he wasn't. He was up at seven in the morning to be at a school at eight. He would be there until two or three in the morning if the weather warranted it," said Turner.

    Eastern North Carolina loved Skip Waters for many reasons including his pinpointed, precise and informative forecasts. He's the meteorologist Eastern Carolina turned to on sunny days, rainy days, and especially during severe weather.

    "He used to get so mad when people would call and fuss at us for being on the air during a storm. What people don't understand is there was maybe a very small population...but there was a very urgent need within that small population. They were relying on Skip to tell them what was going with the weather," said Turner.

    In his thirty-two years at Newschannel12 it's very possible Skip Waters had learned every nook and cranny, back road and crevice of Eastern North Carolina. Another former co-anchor, Gary Dean co-anchored with Skip shortly after he arrived at NewsChannel12 in the early 80's.

    They worked alongside Lee Moroe and Jan Bean. Dean has an idea of what contributed to his precision forecasting.

    "I remember when Skip first got here. He didn't really know that much about Eastern North Carolina and he would get in his car and go out everyday and he would drive around to every little town, side street. Skip knew every town in Eastern North Carolina like the back of his hand," said Dean.

    Dean recalls playing a jokes on Skip in the newsroom.

    "He always wore this flower on his lapel and every now and then Lee Moore and I would steal it," laughed Dean. Just before showtime we'd turn up with it. He didn't particularly see the humor at the time. I'm sure he did after."

    Fond memories of a dear friend to many personally and professionally that will never be forgotten. Skip Waters, originally from Greensboro and had moved to Eastern North Carolina from Florida, made the east his home and made everyone who lived here, his family.

    "He was the weather guy, but he was so much more," Turner said.

     Skip Water is the longest serving employee NewsChannel12 has ever had.

  • Skip Waters' impact in the community

    By WCTI Staff
    Published On: Oct 29 2014 10:37:39 PM CDT
    NEW BERN, CRAVEN COUNTY -

    Students, teachers, and viewers alike share their special memories with Skip Waters during the countless times he stepped out to interact with members of the community.

    When Skip Waters wasn't busy tracking severe weather, he could often be found as a special guest at any number of community events, or you may find him teaching a group of students the in and outs of the weather.

    5th grade teacher Sharon Drummond recalls when Skip visited her daughter's class nearly 15 years ago. A tradition she later started for her own students inviting Skip to present the weather in her classroom.

    "Do the Skip thing you know be in the garbage can with the water and running around with the clouds and all the energy," Drummond says.

    Sherry Jones remembers back in 1989 when she invited Skip to an event in honor of National Meteorologist Day. She says this was when she grabbed a picture she and her son will always cherish.

    "Even the first time I met him it was like we were old buds and it was just incredible. Each and very time I see him after that he remembered my name and my son's name," Jones says.

    Although many meteorologist will come after Skip,many can agree he is truly one-of-a-kind.

  • Anchors Brian North and Wes Goforth react to Skip's passing

    Chief Meteorologist Skip Waters passed away at his home, police said Tuesday. Longtime colleagues Brian North and Wes Goforth react to the loss.

  • A look back at the life and career of Skip Waters

  • NewsChannel 12 learns of Skip Waters' death

  • Tori Shaw reacts to Skip Waters' passing

  • Ellen Bacca shares what she admires about Skip Waters