Charles "C.Ray" Raymond Wilson
May 22, 1923 – April 10, 2016
A Celebration of Life will be held for Charles Raymond “C.Ray” Wilson on Saturday, April 30, 2016 at 1pm in Tigard United Methodist Church with a reception to follow in Parker Hall. Mr. Wilson passed away in Beaverton Oregon on April 10, 2016 at the age of 92 years of age. A private graveside with military honors will be held at Willamette National Cemetery.
Ray was born on May 22, 1923 in Rolla, North Dakota to Owen and Eva (Mickelson) Wilson and had 3 siblings; Agnes, Norman and Alice. Although he didn’t begin school until the 3rd grade, Ray was incredibly smart and enjoyed sports, especially playing Ice Hockey. He graduated from St. Mary’s High School in Idaho.
He joined the United States Army in 1943 and earned a Purple Heart after he landed with the 35th infantry division on Omaha Beach on July 6th and was wounded on July 12th in the Normandy Area. He was incredibly humble when it came to his military service. Upon arriving home from war he worked for Bonneville Power in their security service division. He also did logging with his father and then became an expert craftsman home builder in Scappoose.
He married Lillian Virginia Bjornstrom on January 22, 1949; she preceded him in death in 2001.
Later on he worked for the Portland Development Commission. He was in charge of the Hollywood Branch overseeing operations for Redevelopment in that area. He retired from the City of Portland in 1983. C. Ray joined his wife who had been managing the apartment complex since 1972. C. Ray officially retired in 2005.
C.Ray was incredibly active in American Legion Post. C. Ray was a charter member of Skyline Post 172. After moving to Tigard in 1971 he transferred to Tigard Post #158. C.Ray was a distinguished Legionnaire. He was the American Legion Department of Oregon Commander in 1965. As an articulate speaker he garnered much respect through the organization. His year as Department Commander was incredibly memorable for C.Ray because that was the last year the American Legion National Convention was held here in Portland Oregon. C.Ray also served several years as Judge Advocate for the American Legion Department of Oregon. Having attended over 65 American Legion Conventions, he and Lillian traveled all over the country to Tennessee, Georgia, Texas, Washington D.C., Chicago, Nevada and California.
C.Ray’s most important role in life was as a father and grandfather. He took every opportunity to be involved with his children and grandchildren, attending many school events and many graduations. Grandpa was always there for his family! If you ever needed advice, Ray would listen and make suggestions so you could form your own decision. He never judged anyone but was always there to offer his support.
C.Ray was preceded in death by his wife Lillian, his parents; siblings, Agnes and Norman. He is survived by his six children Carolyn, Johnny, Morris, Lynn, Michael and Norma Ann; sister, Alice; 16 grandchildren, 31 great grandchildren and 22 great great grandchildren.
He will be remembered for his strong heart, kind soul and generous spirit, the family suggests donations be made to the Veterans Organizations.
Young’s Funeral Home entrusted with arrangements.
Welcome to Willamette National Cemetery, a scared and consecrated place for eternal rest of our Armed Forces Veterans and Family Members.
Today we gather to Honor our Departed Comrade; Charles Ray Wilson.
C Ray Wilson was born in 1923, Married Lillian Bornstrom in 1949, who proceeded C Ray in death in 2001.They had 6 children; Son's: Johnny, Morris, Michael and Daughters: Carolyn, Lynn, and Norma Ann. They had 16 Grandchildren, 31 Great Grandchildren, and 22 Great, Great Grandchildren.
C Ray was a Home Builder and Contractor in excess of 25 years, ultimately retiring in 1983.
In his early life, he graduated from St. Mary's High School in Idaho and attended College in New York.
C Ray, like millions of Americans answered the "Call to Duty" during World War II, Serving in the United States Army from 1943 through 1946.
C Ray was engaged in Combat early on, from the Assault on Normandy, through the end of the War. C Ray served as a Combat Infantryman, earning the Coveted "CIB", the Combat Infantry Badge, and all the World War II Service Medals of and was awarded the Purple Heart, for the Wounds sustained in Combat.
C Ray had a most impressive and stellar second All Volunteer Career inclusive of 69 years in the Largest Veterans Organization; "The American Legion", holding Offices and Positions at all State levels to include State or Department Commander From 1964 to 1965.
On the National Level, C Ray was instrumental in serving in a "Laundry List" of positions, Commissions, Committees and in many Advisory Capacities. He was well known in the National Headquarters arena; both operationally and socially.
C Ray Wilson was one of the few that could stand to and held a comfort zone at the highest levels of the National Organization; gladly serving or advising in any forum or American Legion activity from the Post to National Level. He knew all and everyone in the National Sphere and was a tremendous "Mentor" to all who embraced his vast working knowledge of the Legion.
It was always interesting to me; attending National Functions in Washington DC, Indiana, Conventions or Call Back Activities to meet with Senators, Congressional representatives and watch C Ray address and advise those with influence to effect change or policy. He readily introduced past and present National Commanders; was a central figure with the "Who's Who" of the National Organization. He simply was in his own element at that level; who just may have missed his calling by not pursuing a political career?
I know it's far from Politically Correct these days, but days past in the American Legion, there were those that were "Key Players" that kept the Organization on track, made sound policy, and ensured the security and future of the Legion would remain intact.
Days past, when State Commanders and their spouses were considered a "Royalty" or sorts. Those days, the Legion Dressed for the occasion, held in reverence those in positions, and honored them accordingly. C Ray and Lillian were of this ilk. Honored and respected greatly, Truly American Legion Royalty of the Day.
Peter Drucker, the World Renown Management Expert, once said:
"With every decision being made, there must be some dissention..."
Anyone who knew C Ray, or attended a DEC Convention or a forum that required open input, knew that before long "Mr. Wilson" would stand and voice an opinion, position, Regulatory Law, matter of Policy or Code of Procedure or some alternate point of view. C Ray had a strong reputation for being the Department "Conscious"! He seemed to enjoy "Stirring the Pot"...but always to a favorable or just end.
C Ray was a true and respected Leader. Agree or Disagree, C Ray made his point; and never in a manner that left ill will in the wake.
I had the pleasure of working with and know C Ray Wilson for the past 25 years;
He was always a gentleman, an astute educator and mentor who had a phenomenal memory and first-hand knowledge of days past, events or names and history of the American Legion. One had to wonder if her were actually present at the Legions Formation at the Paris Caucus in 1917?
He and his "Legion Contemporaries" ultimately became the "Old Guard" of the Department of Oregon, "The Respected Elders" so to speak. These men were not only part of the "Greatest Generation" they were men who brought this Nation to Social and Industrial Standards known only in America.
The likes of T Les Galloway, Morrie Druel, Ron Wood, and C Ray Wilson, will most likely never pass this way again. They are the end of the Best Generation produced in any nation, anytime, anywhere, just happened to be great Americans, one and all.
My friend C Ray Wilson passed away on the 10th of April at 93 years of age.
An Old Army tradition dictates;
That all "Warriors and Soldiers" in death, repair to "Fiddlers Green; a place of rest, peace, and solace, on their journey awaiting entry to Valhalla."
This tradition has been passed down for over 300 years in our Army.
Today, Charles Ray Wilson I'm sure he has made the last muster in Fiddlers Green and Marched into "Valhalla or Heaven" as we know it to be.
It is my most sincere and earnest prayer that "C Ray rests in Eternal Peace" with his loved ones and those that have gone before.
He is missed, loved, and respected.
- Visitation Saturday, April 16, 2016
- Memorial Service Saturday, April 30, 2016
Charles "C.Ray" Raymond Wilson
April 15, 2016
So sorry for your loss , miss ya C-Ray .... Sincerely Julie , Hi Hat & Legion
Staff of Young's Funeral Home
April 12, 2016
Offering our deepest condolences during this difficult time.