Charles William Willis was called to his eternal home on Thursday, September 3, 2020. He was born in Williamsburg, Virginia on November 1, 1935, to Cue and Elizabeth Clark Willis.
Charles accepted Christ at an early age and became a member of Union Baptist Church, Williamsburg, Virginia. Growing up in the heart of Colonial Williamsburg in “White City” on Franklin Street, Charles had a natural passion for history and was a great orator. He was an avid reader and believed in the importance of education. An early riser, he was never late and always believed in being prepared.
As a high school student, he was very active in sports, excelling in basketball and baseball. He pitched for several local Black Minor League teams. He graduated in the Class of 1954 from Bruton Heights High School; receiving a scholarship in football. He attended junior college in Washington State for a short period of time. Upon returning home he joined and served eight years in the United States Air Force; four of the years he was stationed in England.
After being honorably discharged from the Air Force, he moved to New York where he explored several job opportunities. He joined the New York Police Department and also worked for the New York Consumer Affairs Division. In 1975, Charles joined the James City County Sheriff’s Department. He was the first Black Sergeant of the police force.
He met Shirley Monroe and on December 10, 1977, they were joined in holy matrimony.
In 1980, Charles began a different career working at Anheuser Busch; retiring in 1996.
Charles was a dedicated member of the Old Capitol Lodge Elks #629. He served in many positions including Exalted Ruler, Third Vice President of Virginia State Elks, and Chairman of the State Youth Department.
Charles was preceded in death by his parents; stepmother, Viola Willis; and oldest brother, Cue Horace Willis. He leaves fond memories with his loving and devoted wife, Shirley M. Willis; daughters, Cassandra Carter (Benjamin), Marlene Reid (Richard), and Dana Willis; grandchildren, Richard “Ricky” Reid, Jr., Ashley Carter, Cierra Carter, Kennedy Tomlin and Jefferson Tomlin; brother, Lawrence Willis; and a niece, nephews, cousins, fraternal brothers, and other caring family and friends.
All services at this time are private. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial donations be made in honor of Charles Willis to the Union Baptist Church Building Fund, P.O. Box 726, Williamsburg, VA 23187.
Professional services entrusted to the staff of Whiting’s Funeral Home, 7005 Pocahontas Trail, Williamsburg, Virginia 23185. 757-229-3011. whitingsfuneralhome.com
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