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Published February 16, 2014, 12:00 AM

Charles (Chuck) Ray Wilson

Charles (Chuck) Ray Wilson is now in heaven organizing a game of pool; no doubt trying to figure out whether an angelic wager is permitted. Charles Ray Wilson died on February 14, 2014 at the age of 80.

Our Dad was born October 5, 1933 to Stanley and Regina (Christensen) Wilson in Dayton Ohio. He was raised by his mother in Bismarck, ND. He was a man that embodied the spirit of North Dakota. He was independent, practical, proud and never met a person with whom he couldn’t strike up a conversation. His passion and love of the outdoors was only trumped by his devotion to our family.

Charles (Chuck) Ray Wilson

Charles (Chuck) Ray Wilson is now in heaven organizing a game of pool; no doubt trying to figure out whether an angelic wager is permitted. Charles Ray Wilson died on February 14, 2014 at the age of 80.

Our Dad was born October 5, 1933 to Stanley and Regina (Christensen) Wilson in Dayton Ohio. He was raised by his mother in Bismarck, ND. He was a man that embodied the spirit of North Dakota. He was independent, practical, proud and never met a person with whom he couldn’t strike up a conversation. His passion and love of the outdoors was only trumped by his devotion to our family.

His fierce independence revealed itself early in life. He decided hunting, fishing and traveling the country via the railroads as a teenager beat attending school. It was only after two years on the road that the football coach at Bismarck High School convinced him to give football (and school) another chance. He agreed to give it a go – as long as football and school did not interfere with hunting. Dad went on to attend Bismarck Junior College. After serving his country in the United States Army from 1954-1956 as a high speed radio operator stationed in Austria and Italy, and after completing his military service graduated from the University of North Dakota in 1959 with a degree in business management.

Our Dad’s love for the outdoors and particularly hunting and fishing never wavered. Our family calendar was defined by hunting and fishing season. Our freezer was always full of pheasant, venison meat and fish filets, and opening our garage door to see a deer hanging from the rafters while initially heart stopping was actually a cause for celebration. My brothers, sister and I grew up with an understanding and respect for the circle of life.

Dad was a consummate salesman. He worked for Prudential Insurance Company for 31 years; in Bismarck as an agent and in Fargo as a staff manager. After retiring from Prudential he continued to sell insurance and worked for the Richard Sessing Insurance Agency in Walker MN for 16 years as a broker of extended care benefits and life insurance. One of the many reasons he was successful was his ability to find a connection with whomever he was talking to. Of course as children, on more than one occasion we just wanted him to stop talking so we could be on our way. As an adult, I recognize that he instilled in his children the importance of treating others the way you want to be treated, and that perspective served him well during his career.

Our Dad married the love of his life Ruth Morley on July 17, 1957 and not a day went by that was not dedicated to making her happy. One of our Dads enduring legacies to my brothers, sister and I is the belief in a love that can endure the passage of time, the demands of career, and the inherent problems of raising four children into adulthood. He struggled mightily this past year, but despite the pain and sickness our Mom’s welfare was always his first concern.

Dad loved sports and friendly competition. He continued to play sports after college and pitched fast-pitch softball with the Elbow Team in Bismarck for 11 years. He was also a bit (actually more than a bit) of a pool shark. Dad was known for hustling up a game of pool even after moving to Walker MN. He always made sure he knew where the nearest exit was because chances were pretty good he was going to win the wager.

He was bigger than life to those of us who loved him and his passing creates a bigger than life hole in our hearts, but he is finally without pain or sickness. He competed well in everything he did, he has finished the race and throughout he always kept the faith in our family.

Chuck is survived by Ruth, his wife of 57 years, his children Lynn (Mark) Wilson-McKenzie of Cumming, Georgia, Steve (Wanda) Wilson of West Fargo, ND, Eric (Dawn) Wilson of Fargo, ND, and Marci (Bryce) Fehr of Huntersville, NC; and his grandchildren Charlie McKenzie, Cody Wilson, Tanisha Wilson, Sophie Rose McKenzie, Tanner Wilson, Shanda Hayden, Kaitlyn Wilson and Owen Fehr.

Chuck was preceded in death by his parents and his brother Stanley Wilson.

A Memorial Service will be held at the West Funeral Home in West Fargo, ND on Friday, Feb. 21, 2014 at 2:00 pm with a Celebration of Life immediately following at the Holiday Inn in Fargo, ND.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to a cancer research foundation of your choosing.

westfuneralhome.com

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