STILLMAN VALLEY – On Monday, Sept. 5th Charles Armour Williams (A.K.A. Chuck or Bub) was called home after a long and fulfilling life. Chuck was born on July 25th, 1930 to Charles H. and Margaret Williams of Stillman Valley, the eldest of what would become six siblings (3 brothers and 3 sisters). Throughout the trials of the Great Depression he attended a small, one-room school (grades K-9) on the corner of Armour Road and Route 72. As World War II raged, he transferred to the new Stillman Valley High School, where he excelled in several sports and became Class President, member of the Student Council, the “S” Club, and FFA. He was known a great basketball player and an even better baseball player. He graduated SVHS in 1948 and declined a sports scholarship (to what would become Northern Illinois University) to stay around the farm and help his family.
Chuck became a well-known local carpenter, often working with his brother Robert (Ding) and their father building houses. Many houses around Stillman Valley were built by Chuck. He worked as a carpenter for over 20 years before taking a job with the Illinois Department of Transportation Highway Department, where he worked for an additional 25 years. In 1967, he married Beverley Freeman, who had two children (Mary and John Sweeney). He did his best to be a good stepfather to them both.
In October 1974 Mary had a son (Scott), but as she was going through a tough time in her life, Chuck and Beverley adopted Scott and raised him as their own. It took a lot of guts and compassion to raise someone else’s child, but Chuck did it the best he could- he did it well. Chuck took to being an instant father and taught Scott many things, like how to throw a curveball, the best way to box out and rebound, ride a bicycle, and drive a car. He read his son books every night before bed- some of the most important being about dinosaurs and paleontology. He and his family traveled the country visiting museums, historical sites, and national parks. Chuck was there for all of his son’s sporting events, school musicals and plays, academic events, and for important moments for the rest of the family. This investment in his son’s interest and education led to Scott working at the Burpee Museum of Natural History and later at Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana. Chuck also helped take care of his parents in their later years, often spending nights at their house and filling in for his brother (Ding) on the farm whenever needed.
After retiring from the Illinois Department of Transportation in 1996, Chuck and Beverley bought a camper with intentions to continue traveling all over the country. Unfortunately, while vacationing in central Florida in 1998, Beverley was diagnosed with colon cancer. Chuck and Beverley decided to stay in Florida to seek chemotherapy treatment, where Mary came to help take care of her mother. Chuck stayed by his beloved Beverley as she fought her cancer for over a year and was by her side when she slipped her earthly bonds in December 1999.
Chuck was good-natured, loving, and cautious, yet overall supportive of his family. Despite being a “country boy”, Chuck traveled all over, visiting Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, Alberta Canada, Badlands National Park, Scott’s Bluff National Monument, Oahu Hawaii, Niagara Falls, the West Coast, Baja Mexico, and at the age of 73 even went with his son on a dinosaur dig in eastern Montana. Later, at the age of 87, he accompanied Mary on a three-day drive to Bozeman Montana to visit Scott.
Chuck was a lifelong baseball enthusiast and a dyed-in-the-wool Cubs fan. Chuck saw several games at Wrigley Field with his family, including when Andre Dawson hit his 48th homerun in 1987. He rarely missed a game, either listening to WGN or watching when the games aired on TV. In fact, Chuck caught a game just a few days prior to his passing. Chuck’s loyalty was rewarded when those lovable losers won their 2016 World Series in seven games.
Those who knew Chuck would say he was likeable; some would say loveable. He was kind to all he met and usually had some folksy, bumpkin saying or story to go with his greetings. He could be oblivious to some things and was well known for selective hearing. But by every measure Chuck was a good father, stepfather, grandfather, and friend. Chuck was a good man who lived a good life and tried his best until the very end.
It should be known, as Chuck entered his later life, Mary was there to help take care of him and ensure a good quality of life as she did with her own mother. Mary’s efforts allowed Chuck safety and comfort, even shielding him from the pandemic, ensuring his long life of 92 years.
Chuck was preceded in death by Beverley Williams (wife), Charles and Margaret Williams (parents), Robert “Ding” Williams (brother) and his special cousins (Ken, Willard, and Jack). He is survived by Mary Sweeney (daughter), Scott Williams (son) and his spouse (Katie), John Sweeney (stepson), Reese Vancko (great granddaughter) and his remaining brother and sisters (Billy, Margaret Ann, Susanne, and Mary).
Chuck will be cremated and there will be no formal funeral. However, there was a special celebration of life memorial event at the Davis Junction Fire Station on Sunday, Sept. 18th from 4-7 p.m. This celebration was baseball themed, and everyone was encouraged to wear their favorite Cubs gear (hats, shirts, etc.), or other special team; however, St. Louis Cardinal fans may be barred at the door. Just kidding. There was food and refreshments served (hot dogs, Cracker Jacks, cookies/cupcakes, etc.).
In lieu of flowers or gifts, the family of Chuck Williams requests donations be sent to one of the following charities:
1) The American Heart Association- https://www.heart.org/
2) Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary- http://www.noahsarkanimals.org/