TALLADEGA -- Longtime Talladega business owner and former Talladega Water and Sewer Board member George Daniel “Dan” Waites passed away June 8, according to members of his family.
His obituary says he was a local business owner from 1976, starting at Waites Grocery, then starting Waites Concrete and Construction in 1980. He was 63.
His tenure on the water board lasted from 2004 to 2005 but came at a pivotal juncture for the system.
In addition to bringing the knowledge and expertise of a contractor to the position, he also pushed for increased planning, transparency and accountability after years of scandal had left the board with limited credibility in many circles.
Early on, Waites tended to vote by himself on many issues, but as the City Council began to take a greater role on the board, he moved into a comfortable majority, with three other members of the current City Council eventually serving on the board with him.
Shortly after Waites resigned, the board turned all of its property over to the city of Talladega and permanently dissolved itself. It has been a department of the city ever since.
Former Talladega City Councilman William Clark appointed Waites to the board and eventually served with him.
“Dan was one of a kind,” he said. “I was his banker before he was on the board and I knew him as a good businessman. I thought a lot of him. I respected him and knew him to be a hard worker who cared about his family. He will be missed.”
Water and Sewer Department Director Cathy Fuller said she had known Waites during his period of service on the board.
“I appreciate all the contributions he made during his service and positive influence he had on the community,” she said. “He will be missed both personally and professionally.”
Former state Sen. Jim Preuitt said he had “known the Waites family ever since I moved to town 52 years ago. They are a hard working family and they’ve all been friends for a long time.
“I knew Dan very well and I believe he was one of the most driven human beings I have ever known. He was determined every single day to accomplish his goals, and I don’t believe he usually slept more than three or four hours per night.
I’m sure he will be missed and I’m very sorry for his family’s loss.”