September 8, 1930 - October 25, 2021
WILSON Charles "Charlie" E. Beloved father of Judi Wohlfrom, Jerome Charles Wilson and Cheryl Lynn (Steve) Gregg. Devoted grandfather of Rachel (Benji) Ashmore, Samuel Charles (Ashley), Danielle (Steven), Jacob and great grandfather of Morgan. Brother of Don Wilson and Beverly Carmichael Ramsey. Passed away on Monday, October 25, 2021 at the age of 91 due to complications related to COPD and emphysema. He was a member of the Gailey VFW Post 7340. Charlie was born in Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati on September 8, 1930. The middle child of three children, Charlie nonetheless earned the nickname “Babe”. His parents, Benjamin “Frank” Wilson and Mildred (Heitkemper) initially resided in St. Bernard where her family lived, and Frank operated the Greenlee Garage with his brother Sam during the Great Depression. With the selling of the garage business, Frank took a job at the Coors Dairy on Gray Road in Winton Place, Cincinnati, as the motor pool mechanic for the milk trucks. A farm boy from Illinois, Frank came of age with the automobile, and instilled in young Charlie a love for cars that lasted throughout his life. Charlie’s dad also raised his son with a farmer’s resourcefulness, something especially important during the Depression, and Charlie soon learned how to repair anything on a budget. The family lived in an old stone house on Gray Road when Winton Place was still very rural, and young Charlie hunted rabbits in the woods behind the dairy, worked picking hothouse tomatoes, cut grass with a pushmower at Spring Grove Cemetery, at 16 held a job as a soda “Jerk” at a drugstore, and delivered auto parts for Spreen Automotive in Northside. He graduated from Roger Bacon High School in 1948. In 1951, with the Korean War raging, Charlie and his brother Don received their draft notices, and decided to join the United States Navy together. Charlie was soon on an antique (he called it a ‘cattle car’) troop train headed for California and basic training. After basic, and training as a metalsmith, Charlie was assigned as a Machinist’s Mate to the USS Faribault (AK-179), a cargo vessel based in Pearl Harbor, Hawai’i. On board the Faribault, Charlie and his shipmates called on ports all throughout the Pacific in support of the war effort in Korea: Japan, Hong Kong and China, Vietnam, Guam, the Philippines, Midway Island, Okinawa, Indonesia, and of course Korea itself. In November 1954, the Faribault was a support ship for Operation Passage to Freedom, the evacuation of civilian refugees from Communist-held North Vietnam. The Faribault was also present in 1954 for Operation Castle, the testing of thermonuclear (hydrogen) weapons at Bikini Atoll. After the test Charlie was ordered over the side in a radiation suit to hose radioactive fallout off the ship. The Faribault received 2 Battle Stars for its efforts during the Korean War. Charlie was honorably discharged from the Navy on February 25, 1955. He returned to Cincinnati and immediately found employment alongside his father at Coors Dairy in the garage. Charlie was a natural talent in the garage. He serviced a fleet of ancient milk delivery trucks, and his resourcefulness kept them running in all weather conditions 6 days a week. In addition to mechanical repairs on the dairy vehicles, Charlie became the dairy’s refrigeration expert for both mobile and fixed cooling needs, and the paint and body man for the garage. He was well known for hand stenciling the trucks with the Coors Dairy logo. Charlie married Janice (Carlson) in May of 1965. The couple had a house built in the Cincinnati suburb of White Oak, where they lived and started a family. The family remained at the house until the couple divorced 25 years later. He continued to work at the dairy for a total of 38 years, even as the company struggled. Home milk delivery was becoming a relic of the past, and the need for delivery trucks declined steadily until the service was finally discontinued. When the company began to sell off its property, Charlie opted for early retirement in 1990, leaving just before the dairy closed its doors forever. Charlie enjoyed his retirement for exactly one week before boredom drove him to seek out something else to do with his time and years of experience. Coincidentally, Charlie’s church, St. Ann’s, was looking for part-time help in their maintenance department. Once again, he was a natural fit for the position. What initially began as a way to keep busy in retirement became Charlie’s calling for most of the rest of his life. Charlie loved working at St. Ann’s, and later, Our Lady of Grace School. There was always something to repair, or paint, or refinish. He was very proud of his accomplishments there and the friends he made. These were things he talked about for the rest of life. St Ann’s truly gave Charlie the outlet he needed for his creativity and resourcefulness, and it also was a tremendous social outlet for an older man living alone. Charlie continued to work for the church and school until his illness forced him to stop. In addition to work, Charlie’s life was filled with family, long time friends, boats, and especially cars. A die hard Ford man, he was especially proud of his long gone cars: a 1955 Thunderbird (with opera window), 1958 Thunderbird convertible, 1939 Ford Coupe, and the immaculate 1957 Fairlane 500. In the late 50’s, looking for a truck to haul their newly acquired houseboat, Charlie and a friend came across an abandoned 1941 Ford pickup in a farmers field. When asked if he would sell it, the farmer replied, “If you can get it running, it’s yours for $1”. Sure enough, Charlie had it purring in no time and kept the truck well into the 70’s. The ‘41 was the perfect drive-in movie vehicle with the living room couch cushions thrown in the back for comfort! Charlie, like his dad Frank, loved camping, and his later years found him in a campground every summer weekend with various combinations of camping vehicles and trucks to pull them. Long time buddy Tom Sheeren often camped nearby, and Charlie especially enjoyed family visiting him at the campground. As his illness progressed Charlie was increasingly unable to move about, yet his memory remained incredibly sharp. He remembered just about everyone he ever met, who they were married to, when they died, and who their relations were. He could recall events that happened to him as a teenager with absolute clarity, and always remark on what type of vehicle he was driving at the time! Charlie was never a wealthy man, but he was his own man, through and through, and lived his life as he wanted to. Visitation for Charlie will be held at St. Ann Church 2900 W. Galbraith Rd. (45239) on Friday, Oct. 29, 2021 from 10 AM until time of Mass of Christian Burial at 11 AM with burial to follow at Gate of Heaven Cemetery. Donations may be sent to the Gailey VFW Post 7340. “He said I live each day like it's my last Time won't keep, it goes so fast You better do the best that you can do He said, life's a tune you whistle in the dark When you get it right, you get a little spark And the sun comes up and it all dawns on you He said, this old bag of bones ain't really me There's a lot more standing here than what you see He said my back is bending low, but my spirit’s flying free This old bag of bones ain't really me” -Guy Clark
WILSON Charles "Charlie" E. Beloved father of Judi Wohlfrom, Jerome Charles Wilson and Cheryl Lynn (Steve) Gregg. Devoted grandfather of Rachel (Benji) Ashmore, Samuel Charles (Ashley), Danielle (Steven), Jacob and great grandfather of Morgan.... View Obituary & Service Information
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