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Mary Tezanos Waters

May 22, 1927 — August 10, 2023

Mary Tezanos Waters peacefully transitioned to her heavenly home on Thursday, August 10, 2023 at the age of 96.

Mary was born on May 22, 1927 in Lackawanna, NY to the late Gervasio and Celia (Del Rio) Tezanos. She met and married her husband, Dennis Alton Waters, Sr., on March 12, 1949 in Washington D.C where she was employed with the Department of the Navy as a secretary. Dennis served in the U.S. Army, and together they were stationed both overseas and stateside and later settled in Fort Stewart, GA.  It was there that they established their home in Allenhurst, Georgia and raised their four children.

Mary was an active member of the Catholic community at Fort Stewart Catholic Chapel and, in later years, at St. Stephen's Catholic Church in Hinesville. She retired in 1987 from the U.S. Civil Service after 25 years of secretarial service.

Preceding her in passing was her former husband, Dennis Waters, Sr., her parents, and six siblings, Joseph Tezanos, Caroline Tezanos, Louise Herrera, Antonia Arcara, George Tezanos, and Celia Morelli. The sudden and unexpected death of her eldest son, Dennis Jr., in January 2021 was a profound sorrow she endured the last few years.

She is survived by her children, Toni (James) Ragno, George (Beverly) Waters, and Russell (Martha) Waters; her daughter-in-law, Jan Waters; and sister, Emma Tezanos.  "GaGa," as she was affectionately called by those who knew and loved her, will be fondly remembered by her nine grandchildren; Celia (Jeremy) Gossett, Patrick (Demere’) Bowen, Blake (Marianne) Waters, Shelly (Mollie) Waters, Flynt (Jessica) Waters, Jessica (Matt) Waters-Cardella, Jenny (Todd) Mayo, Russ (Alex) Waters, and Blayre (Wil) Haley, her 24 great-grandchildren, three great-great-grandchildren, and a host of nieces and nephews.

Mary enjoyed cooking for her family, keeping a tidy home, and playing all sorts of card games, with a fondness for dominoes. She often expressed her love through cooking, and her kitchen table always had room for one more! As her children were growing up, they would often invite their friends over for one of her wonderful home-cooked meals, especially loved was her famous spanish-style chicken and rice. Her evenings and weekends were often spent shuttling her children to and from various activities. From an early age, she was always there to take her three sons to football or basketball practice, and her daughter to dance and piano lessons. She never missed a game or a recital and the opportunity to support and cheer them on. Her love and sacrifice was the glue that kept her family together.

When not caring for her family and friends, Mary spent her time volunteering in her church and community, including her charitable contributions at Winn Army Hospital.  She was honored with the Commander’s Pot of Gold Award for her service and dedication to the soldiers and the families of Fort Stewart, GA.

Her home in the country in Allenhurst, Georgia, was a busy place with farm animals of every kind, numerous pets, and sprawling vegetable gardens. After her children became adults with families of their own, she and her husband installed an in-ground swimming pool, so she could continue to surround herself with her children and grandchildren and ensure her home continued to be the gathering place for family and friends alike.

She was an especially gifted artisan whose skills in crocheting, sewing and embroidery were lovingly passed on to her only daughter, Toni. She blessed many of her family members and friends with her beautifully hand-crafted afghans, tablecloths, bedspreads, doilies, and table runners along with lots of hand-knitted scarves and hats. In later years she spent much of her time hand-embroidering pillowcases that numbered in the hundreds! She found joy in teaching others how to sew and crochet, including her “favorite (and only) son-in-law”, Jim. Her greatest gift, however, was her gift of giving. 

Deep appreciation is extended to Jacquese Willis, her dedicated at-home caregiver for many years, and the compassionate staff at Kerner Ridge Assisted Living in Kernersville, NC, her home for the last 21 months.

Cumby Funeral Home in High Point, NC will return Mary to Georgia, the place she always called home.  A private family graveside service will be held at Allenhurst Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Allenhurst, GA on Tuesday, August 15, 2023 at 10:00 am. Pastor Randy Waters, her nephew, will preside over the service. There, Mary will be laid to rest next to her beloved son, Dennis Jr.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in the memory of Mary may be directed to St. Stephen's Catholic Church, 399 Woodland Drive, Hinesville, GA 31313 or Trellis Hospice Supportive Care, 101 Hospice Lane, Winston-Salem, NC 27103.

Carter Funeral Home is handling the arrangements. To share a memory or leave a condolence, please visit 

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