This month our resident spotlight is our resident, Dr. Dana Waters! We hope you enjoy getting to know a little bit about him from our interview below.
Where are you from? Born in Atlanta, GA, I lived my first five years in the suburb of Forest Park near lots of family, and especially cousins who were like brothers and sisters. When I was 5, Dad felt called to the ministry, and we moved to Decatur, GA, where he attended Columbia Theological Seminary. From then, I moved frequently as Dad was called to churches in and around Charlotte and Atlanta. I completed high school in Charlotte and then attended Davidson College. In my last year of high school, I sensed God’s leading me toward the ministry, and following college I attended Columbia Seminary, graduating in 1958. Through the years, I have served at 5 churches, the last being the South Highland Presbyterian Church here in Birmingham until my retirement in June of 2000. I moved to Birmingham in 1987, and began my ministry at SHPC on February 1 of that year.
Tell us about your family. My wife, Bette, was from Elkin, NC – a small town in the foothills of the mountains where her father served as Chief of Police. After high school, she enrolled in Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing in Charlotte. Because of a strict rule that student nurses could not be married, we eloped in our last years of school (1954) and had to keep our marriage a secret until she graduated the following August. She accompanied me to seminary and supported us by nursing at Emory University Hospital until I graduated. We had one son, Dana IV, and one daughter, Elise, who in time provided us 3 grandchildren – Dana V, Katrina, and Maya
Tell us about your education. As I mentioned, I attended Davidson College, graduating with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in English. Through Columbia Seminary, I earned a B.D. (Bachelor of Divinity) and an M.Div. (Master of Divinity). Later I earned a D.Min (Doctor of Ministry) from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. My focus for 42 years was on pastoral ministry. I was never an athlete, but was an enthusiastic sports fan. Since moving to Alabama, I have learned to say “Roll Tide,” and have become a loyal Tide fan, though I still pull for Davidson.
How long have you lived at Kirkwood? I came to Kirkwood in January of last year (2020) after a fairly careful consideration of two other retirement communities. Why Kirkwood? There are several aspects that caused it to rise to the top of my list. One was the contacts I had with both staff and residents. They both seemed genuinely happy to be here. It showed in their faces and in conversation. Equal in importance was the very clear religious aspect of life at Kirkwood, strongly exhibited in the space and function of the chapel and the presence of a full time chaplain – notably Richard Hanna who had been a long-time friend. I loved the location of Kirkwood, tucked away in a wooded area and offering a sense of solitude. Sandi Hall was an excellent representative of Kirkwood as the Marketing Director, providing all the information I asked for and eventually guiding me toward the very apartment that I needed and am enjoying. Since becoming a resident, I have come to know many of the staff and residents (especially Claudia and Cathy) all of whom have confirmed that the choice I made was right for me.
If you could sit down and have a meal with anyone in the world, present, past, or future, who would you choose? That is an impossible question. After serious pondering and consultation with my grandson, I have chosen Enoch (see Genesis 5:21-24). Enoch lived at a time when people were living 800-900 years, having children, and then dying apparently of old age. But not Enoch. Enoch lived only 365 years. Was that one year for each day of a year in our current calendar? And then the main thing said about him – twice actually – was that he “walked with God.” But that was not all. After 365 years of walking and talking with God, the story tells us that instead of dying, he simply “was not, for God took him.” Now I would like to sit down for a nice dinner with Enoch and get him to tell me what that was like – what he and God talked about, what those strolls were like, what confidences they shared, did they become so close that they became inseparable so that one day they just walked off together and Enoch never came back? Yes, I would like to share a long meal with Enoch and just give him time to tell me all about that relationship.
Dr. Waters, thank you so much for sharing with us! We are so thankful to have you as apart of our Kirkwood family.