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Former Democratic Assemblyman Norman Waters, who served 14 years as a legislator, died at his Amador County home this week at age 86.

Waters served in the Capitol from 1976 to 1990, ultimately losing his seat to Republican David Knowles in one of California's closest races that year.

The Assembly adjourned today in Waters' memory, with Assemblywoman Alyson Huber, D-El Dorado Hills, memorializing him by saying that his service and work ethic left a lasting impression on constituents.

"Everywhere I go in those counties, they say to me, 'We haven't had someone this present in our county since Norm Waters,'" she said. "That's what they remembered about him, that he was always in his district fighting for constituents."

His Assembly career included stints as leader of the Rural Caucus and of the Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee.

In his final legislative campaign, Waters portrayed himself as "The Last Rancher," a working cattleman on 600 acres of tree-dotted land, a "good old boy" in a stuffy Legislature of 9-to-5, suit-and-tie types.

Political observers attributed his 1990 loss partly to fast growth and an influx of conservatives into his largely rural district, stretching from Placer to Mono counties.

Camille Waters, the lawmaker's daughter-in-law, said that Waters died peacefully Sunday at his Plymouth home.

She recalled him as a character, a fun-loving man who continued to stay abreast of news events long after leaving state office.

"He liked to go out to eat and he was a little bit of a flirt with the waitresses," Camille Waters said. "He was a lot of fun. And sharp as a tack. He watched the news every day and read the newspaper."

Camille Waters provided the following biographical information:

Waters was a third-generation Amador County resident. He was born July 1, 1925 and graduated in the early 1940s from Amador High School, now Sutter Creek Union High School.

Waters later studied at Southwest Missouri State Teachers College - now Missouri State University - and participated in a University of California state extension program.

Prior to his election to the Assembly, Waters was an Amador County supervisor.

Waters was preceded in death by former wives Dorotha and Dona Waters.

He is survived by two sons Fred and Bill Waters, both of Plymouth; stepsons Tim King of Plymouth and John King of Sutter Creek; and by numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

A public celebration of Waters' life is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, March 10, at the Amador County Fairgrounds in Plymouth.


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