Charles G. Williamson Jr.
Wednesday 25th of February 1925 - Wednesday 29th of January 2020
Charles G. Williamson, Jr. 94 3/4, beloved husband of the late Gwenda P. Williamson, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on January 29, 2020. Born in Detroit, MI to the late Charles G. And Lillian W. Williamson, he attended school in MI until his family moved to Washington DC where his father worked to prepare for the US’s eventual entry into WWII. A cheerful student and excellent swimmer, Chuck graduated from Western HS in DC and attended Millard’s School to prepare for his eventual appointment to West Point.
While at USMA, Chuck played and coached lacrosse and graduated in three years. Following his graduation in 1946, Chuck attended airborne training at Fort Benning, GA after which he was stationed in Japan with the 1st Cavalry Division at Omiya, Saitama Prefecture. He served as platoon and troop commander until his assignment as an Economic Control Officer where his duties were to prevent the black market in the civilian economy.
In 1948, Chuck returned to the States on leave to marry Gwenda Rollins Pryse, a pretty Vassar student who had stolen his heart on a blind date during his last year at West Point. Chuck returned to Japan after his nuptials and patiently waited for Gwenda to join him there. He served as the regimental troop commander of the 8th Cavalry in Tokyo. After completing his tour in Japan, Chuck and Gwenda returned to the US where he was assigned to Fort Campbell. In 1951, he was assigned to the ROTC unit at the University of Kentucky.
During his tour in Japan, Chuck had frequent opportunity to serve as a defense and trial judge advocate which sparked his interest in a legal career. While initially planning to attend law school as an officer, Congress failed to appropriate the necessary funds so he resigned his commission as an Army Captain in 1954 to attend the University of Michigan law school where he graduated at the top of his class. While in law school he served on the Michigan Law Review as an associate editor and was elected to both the Order of the Coif and the Barristers Society.
Following his graduation, he worked as an associate for Steptoe & Johnson in Washington DC. He was also admitted to the Bar in Maryland and received a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree from Georgetown University in 1961. In 1964 he returned to Lexington to practice law. He was soon invited to teach at the University of Kentucky College of Law where he served as a professor and assistant dean. In 1969, he was given leave by the University and appointed a judge of the Fayette Circuit Court. Following his time on the bench, Chuck returned to the UK law school. In 1972, Chuck left the law school to serve on Kentucky’s newly created professional Parole Board. At the conclusion of his term, Chuck returned to private practice in Lexington and Mount Sterling until retiring in 2003. In 1984, he was elected a fellow in The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel.
Chuck devoted significant time to many civic and community organizations. He was an active member of the Kiwanis Club of Lexington since 1965. He served as the club president as well as the Lieutenant Governor of Division 10 of the Kentucky-Tennessee District of Kiwanis Int’l and Governor of the District. He was an active leader and member of the West Point Society of the Bluegrass, Lexington’s Civil War Roundtable, and the KY Sons of the Revolution. Chuck served as the general counsel to Transylvania University; was a member of the Board of Trustees; and served on the Executive Committee. In 2004, he received the Irvin E. Lunger Award from Transy. Chuck also served as a director of the Bluegrass Rural Electric Cooperative for more than 25 years.
Chuck attended Christ Church Cathedral in Lexington where he co-founded the Commodores group and served on the vestry and as Senior Warden. He also participated in Cursillo and served as a Clown Minister under the alias of Chuckles.
Chuck was a man of strong faith, kindness and decency who loved his family and friends deeply. He was passionate about many things including American history, the Detroit Tigers, Army football, art, literature, and woodworking. No one could remember a joke better or revel in telling and hearing a good story. He never failed to ask someone’s name which he would then never forget. Everywhere he went, even at almost 95, he brought joy and smiles to all encountered.
Chuck was preceded in death by his wife to whom he was married for over 70 years before her death in 2018. He is survived by his children: Cynthia (Michael) Johnson, Lynda (Bayne) Selby, Charles Williamson III, Morgan (Linda) Williamson, and Gwenda (Marc) Mathews; 14 grandchildren: Wendy Johnson, Amy Johnson, Shannon Thomas, Claire Selby, Ashley Johnson, Isabelle Selby Linaburg, Robyn Johnson, Katie Williamson, John Selby, Sara Williamson Roush, Mary Rollins Mathews, Morgan C. Williamson, Charles Williamson “Will” Mathews, Olivia Williamson, and 15 great-grandchildren. His family is deeply grateful to Maria Scully for her longtime care.
Milward Funeral Directors are entrusted with Mr. Williamson's service arrangements. Visitation and a reception will be held at Christ Church Cathedral, 166 Market Street, Lexington, KY 40507 from 5-8 pm on Friday, January 31st. Services will be at 10 am, Saturday, Feb. 1st. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions may be made to Christ Church Cathedral, Transylvania University or the Kiwanis International Foundation.
To share a remembrance of Chuck or offer condolences to his family, please visit milwardfuneral.com.
James O. Springatesays
Chuck was a great lawyer. He thought outside the box. We worked on one case together when I was a young lawyer, and I will never forget the kindness he showed me.
Chuck was a gentleman’s, gentleman’s. I had the privilege of serving on the Exchange Bank board with Chuck for many years. Condolences to his family and all his friends.
A great man and mentor. Learned a lot law from him as well as good jokes. Always enjoyed our breaks and working crosswords. Condolences to all
Past KT Governor Mark Garmansays
Shellie and I are deeply saddened about Past Governor Chuck's passing. We always enjoyed our Kiwanis connection, as well as the University of Michigan. Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire family. Sorry we can't make the visitation today or the funeral tomorrow.
Chuck was a favorite friend especially when we attended Kiwanis Club every week. He was always in a good mood and with a story or two. I always enjoyed talking with him and enjoyed his conversations with everyone. He will be missed.
Gwen, I was sorry to read about your dad passing away. We know he is with Jesus now. Prayers for you and your family.