Charles Wayne Bills
November 6, 1924 – March 26, 2018
Charles “Wayne” Bills, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, passed away peacefully on March 26, 2018, with his loving wife of 70 years, June, by his side.
Wayne was born in Meeker, Colorado on November 6, 1924, the youngest of eight children. His parents, James Albert and Princetta Collett Bills, passed away early in his life, so Wayne was on his own by the time he was fifteen.
In 1942, Wayne graduated as valedictorian of his high school class and received a scholarship to attend Colorado State College, in Fort Collins. In 1944, his schooling was interrupted by his service in the military as a medical lab technician, near the Battle of the Bulge, during World War II.
Following the war, Wayne returned to college, at Colorado State, where he met and married June Paules, on September 28, 1947. They celebrated their 70st wedding anniversary, just this last year. After earning his Bachelors degree from Colorado State, Wayne took a job at Los Alamos National Laboratories where he worked for three years. Later, he went back to school at the University of Colorado, where he earned both a Masters and a PhD in chemistry and physics. After graduation he and June moved a total of seven times in the next eight years looking for a job in which Wayne would be happy. It was during this time period that they had three sons, Gary, Larry and Ron.
In 1959, Wayne and family moved to Idaho Falls where he was hired as the director of the Health and Safety Division, of what is now known as the INL (Idaho National Laboratories). He had the dubious honor of being placed in charge of cleaning up the first nuclear accident (the SL-1 reactor) to occur in the United States, which occurred at the site in 1961. Following this challenging assignment, he was awarded a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship in Public Affairs, to attend Princeton University for a year. After this hiatus, Wayne returned to Idaho Falls and continued to work in various capacities at the National Reactor Testing Station, ultimately serving as assistant manager of the facility until he decided to leave in 1981. He then went to work as a manager at EG & G Services where he worked an additional five years, before retiring for good in 1986.
Following his formal working career, Wayne was able to give more attention to some of his favorite hobbies, which included fishing, photography and singing (he had a beautiful tenor voice). He also became more involved in church affairs and activities. Both he and June were also able to spend more time enjoying the beauty of the outdoors, during all seasons at their cabin on Palisades Reservoir. And there was time for travel to Europe, Scandinavia, Alaska, and also Hawaii, with their boys. They enjoyed participating in Elder Hostels and made efforts to visit family and friends. In 2015, Wayne and June moved from their home of 56 years to Fairwinds Retirement Community, where they both resided until his passing.
Wayne was a very kind and generous man, devoted to family and friends, and dedicated to the spiritual growth of both himself and others. He was a bright light in the lives of many around him, and his inner faith was evident in the life he lived and the outreach he showed toward others. He was one of those people who made the world a better place for all of us and his presence will be greatly missed.
He was preceded in death by his parents, eight brothers and sisters and his youngest son, Ron (1995). He is survived by his wife, June, his sons Gary (Judy) and Larry of Salem, Oregon, daughter, Wendy (John) of Farmington, New Mexico. Wayne's life will be celebrated at 1:00 pm, Tuesday, April 3, 2018, at St. Paul's United Methodist Church, 1730 St. Clair Road, in Idaho Falls, Idaho. The officiant will be Pastor Nancy Amos. Cremation has taken place.
Arrangements are made under the direction of Buck Miller Hann Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to City of Refuge (840 Park Avenue, Idaho Falls, ID 83402) or PEO Educational Scholarship Fund, Chapter BI, in care of Carol Comstock, (1741 E. 16th St., Idaho Falls, ID, 83404). Condolences to the family may be expressed at www.buckmillerhann.com
- Memorial Service Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Charles Wayne Bills
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April 5, 2018
Dear Mrs. Bills,
I just wanted to tell you how much my parents enjoyed your friendship while in Idaho Falls and afterwards. From my memories of Wayne and what I know from my dad, I have no doubt many, many people loved and respected him and will miss him deeply.
Deepest Sympathies and Best Regards,
April 2, 2018
Mrs. Bills, Larry, and Gary,
I am thinking of you during this time of remembering the incredible life of your husband and father. Thank you for sharing his life story with us and for being a part of ours. We are with you in thought and prayer and love you dearly. Brook