Although he was named Sanders Jackson Watts at birth on October 16, 1949 and his mother called him “Sandy,” the rest of his friends simply called him “Waldo.” There are few who can live up to the expectations of being called by a singular name. For Waldo, that was no challenge at all. Standing six feet and six inches tall, he was not only physically imposing but had a larger-than-life presence with an even larger personality. His fun-loving nature all but guaranteed an exciting time when he was around. He kept the good times rolling until his peaceful passing, with his loving family by his side, on January 9, 2024, after a courageous fight with cancer.
Waldo was born October 16, 1949, in Wythe County, Virginia, the only child to Sterling F. Watts, Jr. and Nancy Roberta Jackson. The family moved to Greenville, South Carolina when he was thirteen years old, where he established roots and would go on to live out a fun and full life for the rest of his years.
As a youngster, Waldo excelled at sports. He played basketball, was a state-record shot putter in track, and competed as a lineman in football. He continued to play football after high school, at Clemson University on an athletic scholarship and professionally in the National Football League. His love of Clemson University and football was evident in all aspects of his life. After finishing his football career, he became successful in business. He owned and operated Nutex, Inc., a textile chemical company, for many years.
His love for Clemson and football was only surpassed by his love for his family. He is survived by his wife Kathy. He loved her immensely and they were a perfect match. They spent 52 years together, and he always said that she was the best thing that ever happened to him. He is also survived by their two children, Austin and Allyson, who both believe he was the greatest father any child could want. Waldo all but adopted Austin’s wife, Katie, and Allyson’s husband, Matt, treating them just like family. There was a special place in his heart for his four grandchildren, Hannah, Mary Hollis, Hutch, and Sterling Sanders. He also loved deeply his extended family and friends. Words could never express the amount of love he felt for all of his family and friends.
Although he was a strong figure, Waldo had a soft heart. He was quick to invite everyone to the lake house, throw together a golf outing, host a huge tailgate, and organize cookouts. He was known to embrace others with his welcoming, trademark “lean.” The “lean” will be missed, along with his ability to orchestrate a great party and his infectious smile!
Waldo was a devout Christian and defined by his strong faith. His family will receive visitors Sunday, January 14, 2024 from 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. at Thomas McAfee Funeral Homes, Downtown. A funeral service will be held Monday, January 15, 2024 at 11:30 a.m. at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, where he was a longtime member. Burial will follow the service in Woodlawn Memorial Park. Everyone is invited to a Celebration of Life following the funeral services from 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m to enjoy food and drinks courtesy of Waldo and the family at The Hangar, located at the Downtown Greenville Airport, 21 Airport Road Extension, Greenville, South Carolina 29607.
In lieu of flowers, please send memorial donations to the charity of one’s choice.
Friends are encouraged to share their favorite memories of Waldo with the family by clicking on the button labeled “Leave A Message, Share A Memory” below.