Dr. Waters remembered in a way he would have loved

Dr. Bedford Waters in 2012 at the birthday party of his friend Ted Smith.

Four hundred folks spent this past Saturday night at the Knoxville Museum of Art honoring the memory of Dr. W. Bedford Waters, a medical pioneer in the field of urology, a supporter of the local arts scene, a world traveler and a master entertainer. He passed away May 25 at the age of 71.

“Bedford is smiling tonight,” said his first cousin and close friend Cecelia Waters, speaking for the family. “We are so overwhelmed,” she said of the turnout. “He was my best friend. He loved his job, his patients, his colleagues. He will be missed, but never forgotten.”

Fittingly, the event was a party, featuring a lavish spread of delicacies prepared by one of Knoxville’s best caterers, Holly Hambright. Tiny cones of ahi tuna tartare were passed by servers in black. Guests were greeted with flutes of champagne. Wine and beer flowed freely from the bars. I do think Dr. Waters would have loved it.

Bill Rukeyser, chairman of the University of Tennessee Medical Center board, described Dr. Waters, who helped create the urology residency there, as “smart, elegant, sociable and incisive.” At UT Medical Center, Dr. Waters served as chairman and director of the program.

He was honored many times for his medical accomplishments, most recently last month when he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Urological Association.

The flowers and other decor on Saturday featured Dr. Waters’ favorite color – purple.

He considered his biggest achievement to be the fact that he personally trained 70 medical residents. That, he said, was a contribution to the future of humankind.

But many on Saturday remembered him for his style and hospitality.

“He was impeccable — even in his scrubs,” said his friend A.D. Baxter. Much of the decor on Saturday featured his favorite color — purple.

He was well known for his love of food and wine and his joy in entertaining others.

His mother, Irene G. Bedford Waters, inspired him with a Bible quote from Hebrews 13:12. “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

Dr. Bob Flanigan of Loyola University noted, “Couldn’t nobody have a dinner party like Dr. Bedford Waters! He was a wonderful chef. He sent us countless pictures of his food and his place settings.” Said A.D. Baxter, “He loved to see everybody else happy.”

Because of his sociable nature, Dr. Waters was no stranger to The Blue Streak. Several times I joked with him that I loved knowing a urologist named “Waters.” He always laughed at that, although I’m sure he had heard it many times.

I thought you might like to see a few of the photos of him at local social occasions.

Dr. Bedford Waters and his cousin Cecelia Waters at Blackberry Farm this past March for the “Artist’s Lunch” associated with the Knoxville Museum of Art’s L’Amour du Vin.

Dr. Waters, left, last October at the Long Table Dinner in the Old City. With him, from left, Jim Harness, Ricky Kennedy and Gay Lyons.

Dr. Waters with Tiffany and Tommy Siler in June 2012 at “Southern Summer’s Night” to benefit Knoxville’s Hope Center.

Dino Cartwright with Dr. Waters in 2015 at the Green Thumb Gala at the Knoxville Botanical Garden.

Dr. Waters in 2017 with David Butler, executive director of the Knoxville Museum of Art, at a party to celebrate David’s wedding to Ted Smith.

Dr. Waters with Laura Mansfield in 2016 at the home of Eddie Mannis for “Summer Swing,” a fundraiser for Positively Living.

Dr. Waters with Cecelia at the Hope Gala in 2016.

It was a packed house on Saturday at the Knoxville Museum of Art for Dr. Waters’ memorial service.

This is just a small portion of the fantastic buffet on Saturday night.

The desserts featured his favorite color.

I think he would have liked the tiny cones of tuna tartare!

Caterer extraordinaire Holly Hambright delivered a culinary experience Dr. Waters would have adored. (Photo by Gay Lyons.)

Members of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra added to the elegant air. From left: Sean Claire, Audrey Pride, Jennifer Bloch and Ildar Khuziakmetov.


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7 Responses to Dr. Waters remembered in a way he would have loved

  1. Gay Lyons, on June 24th, 2019 at 12:27 pm said:

    What great tribute to Bedford–I love the photos of him taken at so many fun events. Saturday night’s party was absolutely perfect: the crowd, the remarks by friends and family, the music, the food.

  2. Rosemary Gilliam, on June 24th, 2019 at 12:29 pm said:

    A beautiful celebration for an amazing Gentleman

  3. Cynthia Moxley, on June 24th, 2019 at 12:41 pm said:

    Gay and Rosemary: I couldn’t agree more. The night was everything he would have wanted. I will miss seeing his smiling face on the Blue Streak.

  4. Sara Rose, on June 24th, 2019 at 12:57 pm said:

    It was a lovely party, indeed. Dr. Waters would have approved!

  5. Margot Damaser, on June 24th, 2019 at 7:57 pm said:

    The only one missing was Dr Waters himself. We miss him dearly.

  6. Cynthia Moxley, on June 24th, 2019 at 8:41 pm said:

    Sara and Margot: Totally agree. Thankful we had opportunity to know him.

  7. Rick Kennedy, on June 25th, 2019 at 12:29 pm said:

    Cynthia, it was a beautiful tribute, indeed….and, you are right—Bedford would have absolutely loved the evening! Cheers to the ‘good doctor’!

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