Charles L. Williams Sr. was born on Tuesday July 27, 1937 in Waco, TX to parents Lela and Charles V. Williams.
Charles spent his formative years in Waco, TX, where he graduated from A.J. Moore High School in 1956. That same year he joined the Marine Corps and was shipped out to Atsugi, Japan.
There he received the first of twelve Good Conduct medals. Continuing his distinguished career, spanning twenty- two years, Charles acquired a multitude of awards, accolades and accomplishments, such as Meritorious Mast, Presidential Unit Citation, Vietnam Campaign Medal w/device, the 100 mile club (10) honors. Charles was a Police Academy Instructor, an MP, and a member of the Corps Marching Band, where he played the bass drum. He trained in Counter Guerrilla Warfare, and as an Amphibious Raider.
In 1960 while stationed at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, CA, he met and fell in love with Claire C. Toombs while attending a function at the VFW. After a world wind romance, they wed on November 12, 1961. In January 1965, they added to their union a son Charles, Jr. and three years later in February 1968 they welcomed a beautiful baby girl Cicelli Cherisse. He was her beloved husband for thirty-nine years until her death.
After serving two tours in Vietnam between and excelling to the rank of E7 Gunnery Sergeant, Charles was stationed at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego as a drill Instructor. Here, he could be seen and heard proudly instructing new recruits until he retired in 1976.
For the next two years Charles worked for Wackenhut Security before beginning a career with the City of San Diego, as a Sanitation Engineer with the Chollas Yard, College Grove. Simultaneously, studying at San Diego City College, where he earned a Degree in Industrial Supervision. During his tenure with the City, he received many accommodations and awards. He also started a fitness program that greatly reduced job related injuries and received special recognition from then Mayor Maureen O’Connor. Known as “Sarge”, Charles cultivated heartfelt, long lasting relationships. He was well known for going that extra mile for the people on his route. They were very appreciative and would often meet him at the curb with all kinds of baked goods, snacks, and beverages. He worked for the City of San Diego from April 1978 to July 1998.
Charles joined Clementine McDuff Elks Lodge #598 on July 20, 1969 and had been a faithful member for over fifty years. Bro. Williams, also known as “Cha Cha” (he loved to dance), held many elected positions in the local lodge as well as offices on the state and national level. His pride and joy was the Antler Guard Department of the Elks, where he held the rank of Lieutenant General and was the Brigade Commander. Bro. Williams was the holder of Past Grand Exalted Ruler, Past State President and Past Exalted Ruler Honors. He also held the position of Deputy Grand Commissioner of the Elks Grand Lodge Security Department, where he served for many years. On the state level, he served many years as the State Esquire where he was charged with maintaining order at State Conventions. As a member of Dennis T. Williams American Legion Post 310, Charles served as Sergeant at Arms for twenty-four years. In November 2000 Charles joined New Life
Baptist Church of San Diego under the leadership of Pastor Troy P. Owens. At New Life he was an avid Bible Study participant, a Prayer Warrior, and an ardent member of the Usher Board. In his servant capacity, he was adamant about the cleanliness of the entire church. He could be found after services, straightening, whichever facilities had been utilized, putting things back in order and returning chairs to their storage area. Charles was a devoted and faithful member for almost twenty years until his passing.
Well-known throughout Emerald Hills as “that man running with the Big stick” he touched the lives of many young people, just by who he was as an example. In his later years, he slowed to a brisk walk, but he never stopped. His friends and neighbors will miss seeing him standing in front of his house on Old Memory Lane waving and saluting as they drive by. HOORAH Marine! Hoorah!
Charles L. Williams, Sr. was preceded in death by parents, wife Claire, brother and sisters-in-law Thomas B. Collins, Edith Sims Collins, and LaVaria H. Warren; aunts and uncles George Collins, Sonfornia Wysson, Georgia C. Parks, E.C. Collins, Gertrude C. Shields, and Mable Collins of Texas.
Left to cherish his memory, son Charles L. Williams, Jr., of Atlanta, GA; daughter Cicelli C. Williams, of Moreno Valley, CA; sisters-in-law Tyna L. Bolden (John) of San Diego; six grandchildren Shakira, Demetrius, Cervantae, Shirabisha, Joshua, Cai-Lei Claire, and a host of cousins, nieces and nephews in California, Louisiana and Texas.
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