In Memory of



Obituary for Michelle Waters-Ekanem

Michelle Waters-Ekanem was born on March 28, 1958 in Boston, Massachusetts. She was the third of nine children born to Robert and Ernestine Waters. Growing up in a big family, Michelle enjoyed spending time with her siblings and countless aunts, uncles, and cousins. As a young girl, Michelle’s grandfather, John H.D. Raynor, spent time reading with her which sparked a love for reading that she carried throughout her life. Michelle was also active in her church’s youth group “Luther League” at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Roxbury. A Bostonian throughout her life, Michelle graduated from the Jeremiah E. Burke High School, and studied at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

As someone who loved family, Michelle had three children of her own. In 1986, she moved her family to Lexington, Massachusetts where she was active in her local community while maintaining a career dedicated to advancing equality. Michelle worked as a Senior Paralegal in the Housing Unit at Greater Boston Legal Services and became the organization’s first Civil Rights Officer. Michelle’s dedication to advancing civil rights and diversity, equity, and inclusion also included serving on the Lexington Coalition for Racial Equality, and as a founding member of the Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston, among other community involvement. Most recently, Michelle worked as the Director of Diversity and Civil Rights for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. Michelle received countless awards throughout her career including awards from the National Lawyers Guild, the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Equity in Governance Award, among others. Michelle had a strong sense of fairness and she spent her career fighting and advocating for social justice, and equality for everyone, which left a lasting impression on her children and anyone that knew her. She often said, “You have to do more than offer a seat at the table. Making sure that everyone is included at the table is the true art of cultural dining.”

As a devoted mother, grandmother, sister and friend, Michelle enjoyed spending time with her children and grandchildren, getting her extended family together for her famous game nights, cooking, going to the casino, and reading. Michelle especially loved celebrating the holidays and passing on family traditions to her children. Michelle was also known for her sense of humor. To say that her family and friends will miss her dearly is an understatement.

On Sunday March 6, 2022, the Lord called Michelle to her heavenly home. She is predeceased by her parents Robert and Ernestine Waters, and brother Courtney Waters. She is survived by her daughter Krishonda L. Waters, son, Ernest I. Waters (Sarah), daughter Janette Ekanem-Thomas (Montgomery), grandchildren Kalyse Marie Black, Haven W. Waters and Cameron E. Waters, former spouse Eddy Ekanem, siblings Robert L. Waters Jr., Beverly Daniels, Richard Waters, Stacey Murphy, Valarie Waters, Leslie Waters, Penny Alexander and numerous nieces and nephews.

A celebration of life will be held on Tuesday March 15, 2022 at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Arlington, Massachusetts at 10:00 a.m.

Face masks are required for all individuals visiting the funeral home and church, regardless of vaccination status. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation.

Here is the link to the streaming for the service. Thank you.

The family welcomes donations to Greater Boston Legal Services in Michelle's name as an expression of sympathy in lieu of flowers.