Charles Royall Wills Jr.
Chuck in Navy
1956 to 2017
They called him Bear in high school.
He was the oldest of four boys and forever our protector. He rarely had to fight because he was big and could be intimidating.
But he had fun — made a point of it. He lived like there was no getting older.
Chuck signed up for a six-year hitch the Navy when he was 17 and shipped out on the USS Woodrow Wilson, then an attack sub. He was with the boat when it was converted to Poseidon and did strategic deterrent patrols with nuclear missiles during the Cold War. He was proud of that.
“Steely eyed killers of the deep,” he would say in ominous tones, “a thin gray line on the horizon, keeping the Ruskies away”
When he came home on leave, he would bring gifts from far away. His generosity was big as him.
Throughout his life it was the same. He worked for DuPont when he got out, and he would spend money, well, like a submariner. He gave presents to people around him that were extravagant. The money didn’t seem to matter to him. He said saving is for sissies.
He partied all his life, and the party seemed to be with him wherever he went.
My brother was kind, and even in his darkest times could cheer you up if you had a problem. He laughed with his whole face, and it was comforting.
Chuck summed up his philosophy with a knock-knock joke that ended with “Don’ worry about it.”
He lived to be 60, and that might have been a little much for him.
His second stroke came on Christmas Eve. He was out of it until he died Monday. I’d almost say it was all according to plan, but then, he never planned. That would be like snubbing today.
He leaves to remember him his wife, Pat; his brothers, Dan, Chris and Tim; his nieces, Sara and Mandie; and all those who rode with him for a time on that road.