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 Charles Wilson
Lieuenant, United States Navy
Member of Congress
Texas State Flag
Charles Wilson, a Representative from Texas; born in Trinity, Trinity County, Texas, June 1, 1933; attended the public schools; graduated from Trinity High School, 1951; while a student at Sam Houston State University at Huntsville, Texas, was appointed to the United States Naval Academy and received a B.S. from the Academy in 1956; served in the United States Navy, with rank of Lieutenant, 1956-1960; engaged in the lumber business; elected to the Texas House of Representatives, 1960-1966; elected to the Texas Senate, 1966-1972; elected as a Democrat to the Ninety-third and to the eleven succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1973-January 3, 1997); was not a candidate for reelection to the One Hundred Fifth Congress and resigned October 8, 1996: died on February, 11, 2010, in Lufkin, Texas.
Two "Buddys" share stories on Wilson

11 February 2010

LUFKIN, Texas - It was around 1964 when Charlie Wilson would meet his best buddies.

Charles Wilson 2007 PHOTO

"It was a pretty exciting time because he was in the Legislature and I had never been around politics that much," longtime friend Buddy Temple said. "Charlie was just such an interesting individual."

Buddy Temple says Wilson was not your average politician. He never took himself too seriously.

"He was bigger than life," Buddy Zeagler said. "Just to be around him and talk about issues domestic or foreign or whatever the subject matter was a book or a good movie, you just kind of sat and soaked up everything he had to say."

Wilson was a stand-up kind of guy. His friends loved, admired and respected him for that.

"He always stood up for what he thought was right," Temple said. "He was a vigorous advocate for what he believed in."

One of his passions was supporting Afghanistan in their war against the mighty Soviets.

Charles Wilson In Afghanistan In 1987 PHOTO
Charles Wilson In Afghanistan In 1987

"He was for the underdog and I think that came from growing up in Trinity," Temple said.

"He never forgot his roots," Zeagler said. "He never forgot where he came from."

Buddy Temple says when he thinks of Wilson, an avid reader, Mark Twain's word are naturally fitting.

"His faults were all the small ones and his virtues were all the great ones and that was Charlie," Temple said.

"A man can live his life in such a way that when he passes the news of his death causes our hearts to break with sorrow and we wonder how can we go on, how can we live without him?" Zeagler said. "That was Charlie. That was him."

And his legacy lives on.

A memorial service for Wilson is set for Sunday at 2 p.m. at Temple Theater at Angelina College.

Burial will take place Feb. 23 at 2 p.m., at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

Wilson died Wednesday at Lufkin Memorial Hospital. He was 76.


A memorial service for former U.S Rep. Charlie Wilson has been scheduled.

The fun-loving longtime Congressman from the Texas 2nd Congressional District helped funnel millions of dollars in weapons to Afghanistan rebels who eventually defeated the Soviet Red Army.

Charles WIlson 1987 Photo

The office manager for Gipson Funeral Home says a memorial service will be held Sunday afternoon at the Temple Theater at Angelina College in Lufkin for Wilson, who served in the House from 1973 to 1996.

Wilson will receive a February 23, 2010, graveside service with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

Wilson's efforts to help the Afghan rebels as well as his partying ways were portrayed in the movie and book "Charlie Wilson's War."

He died Wednesday at the age of 76 in the eastern Texas town of Lufkin.


Monday, February 15, 2010

LUFKIN, Texas -- The late Representative Charlie Wilson was a dedicated public servant who took his work but never himself seriously, friends recalled during a memorial service Sunday in his eastern Texas hometown of Lufkin.

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, who is challenging Texas Governor Rick Perry in next month's Republican primary, was among those honoring the fun-loving Texas congressman at Angelina College. The 76-year-old Wilson died Wednesday of cardiopulmonary arrest.

Wilson funneled millions of dollars in weapons to Afghanistan through backroom dealmaking, allowing the South Asian country's underdog mujahedeen rebels to beat back the mighty Soviet Red Army in the 1980s.

The 12-term member of the U.S. House from 1973 to 1996 was known in Washington as "Good Time Charlie" for his reputation as a hard-drinking womanizer.

The Dallas Morning News reported that former state Representative Buddy Temple remembered the baptism of his 43-year-old daughter, Whitney, when Wilson became her godfather.

"We've got a problem," Temple quoted Wilson as saying. "I just talked to the preacher and he said I have to renounce the devil and all of his works. Would it be OK if I renounced the devil and some of his works?

"It was typical Charlie trying to convince us that he was a rogue and a scoundrel and a bad boy," said Temple. "But we weren't fooled. He was exposed by his good works."

Wilson, a Democrat, was considered both a progressive and a defense hawk. While his efforts to arm the mujahedeen in the 1980s were a success -- spurring a victory that helped speed the downfall of the Soviet Union -- he was unable to keep the money flowing after the Soviets left. Afghanistan plunged into chaos, creating an opening eventually filled by the Taliban, who harbored al-Qaida terrorists.

His efforts to help the Afghan rebels -- as well as his partying ways -- were portrayed in the movie and book "Charlie Wilson's War." In an interview with The Associated Press after the book was published in 2003, he said he wasn't worried about details of his wild side being portrayed.

"Charlie Wilson was one of a kind -- loved by all who knew him -- and he will be missed as one of our most distinguished and colorful leaders," Hutchison said in a statement provided to the Lufkin Daily News. Hutchison faces Perry and Debra Medina in the GOP primary March 2.

A six-piece jazz band punctuated each eulogy with Wilson favorites including "As Time Goes By," "My Way," and, in honor of his years as a naval intelligence officer, "Anchors Aweigh" and "The Navy Hymn."

"He took his work seriously but he never took himself seriously," said his close friend Joe Christie, who served with Wilson in the Texas Legislature. "He changed the course of history, but he was not self important. That's why he was so ... fun to be with."

A volunteer for John F. Kennedy's 1960 presidential campaign, Wilson entered the Texas legislature in 1961 as "the liberal from Lufkin." Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1972, he was an east Texas Democrat whose uncompromising positions on national security and anti-communism won the respect of Ronald Reagan.

"He'll be missed from the Golan Heights to the Khyber Pass, from the Caspian to the Suez and in the halls of Congress, for his civility, his willingness to listen and help and not posture," John Wing, who traveled with Wilson on his journeys to Pakistan and Afghanistan, told the crowd.

Wilson will be buried with full military honors February 23 at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D. C.



15 February 2010:

LUFKIN, Texas Former Representative Charlie Wilson was remembered Sunday as a man who helped change history in Afghanistan after the Soviet Union invaded but at the same time didn't take himself too seriously.

The memorial service brought dignitaries from around the state to Angelina College for a service that celebrated the one-of-a-kind congressman.

The front rows of the school's Temple Theater were packed with people such as Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, former U.S. Representative Martin Frost, former Lieutenant Governor Gov. Ben Barnes and Houston gas titan Oscar Wyatt and his wife, Lynn. A six-piece jazz band punctuated each eulogy with Wilson favorites like "As Time Goes By," "My Way" and, in honor of his years as a naval intelligence officer, "Anchors Aweigh" and "The Navy Hymn ."

He took his work seriously, but he never took himself seriously," said close friend Joe Christie, who served with him in the Texas Legislature. "He changed the course of history, but he was not self-important. That's why he was so damn much fun to be with."

Former state Representative Buddy Temple remembered the baptism of his daughter, Whitney, when Wilson became her godfather. "We've got a problem," Wilson told him. "I just talked to the preacher and he said I have to renounce the devil and all of his works. Would it be OK if I renounced the devil and some of his works?"

"It was typical Charlie trying to convince us that he was a rogue and a scoundrel and a bad boy," Temple said. "But we weren't fooled. He was exposed by his good works."

A 1956 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Wilson served 38 months at sea aboard a destroyer before being transferred to the staff of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, D.C.

A volunteer for John F. Kennedy's 1960 presidential campaign, Wilson entered the Texas Legislature in 1961 as "the liberal from Lufkin." Elected to the U.S. House in 1972, he was an East Texas Democrat whose uncompromising positions on national security and anti-communism won the respect of Ronald Reagan.

John Wing, founder and chairman of Wing Aviation, traveled with Wilson on his journeys to Pakistan and Afghanistan.

"He'll be missed from the Golan Heights to the Khyber Pass, from the Caspian to the Suez and in the halls of Congress, for his civility, his willingness to listen and help and not posture," Wing said.

Known for his scrupulous attention to constituent services, for bringing a Veterans Affairs clinic to Lufkin and for helping birth the Big Thicket National Preserve, Wilson was emblazoned in the national consciousness when Tom Hanks played him on the big screen in the 2007 film Charlie Wilson's War.

Wilson helped funnel millions of dollars in weapons to Afghan rebels who eventually defeated the Soviet Union's occupying soldiers.

After Sunday's service, his widow, Barbara, welcomed a small group of her late husband's intimates to their home on the golf course in Lufkin. Next to an American eagle sculpture in the living room, the words of Abdur Rahman Khan, emir of Afghanistan from 1880 to 1901, are emblazoned on a brass plaque: "My spirit will remain in Afghanistan even though my soul will go to God. My last words to you my son and successor are: Never Trust the Russians."

Wilson will be buried Feb. 23 with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

Funeral Services For Charles WIlson @ Arlington National Cemetery 23 February 2010 PHOTO
Honor guard members carry the remains of former Texas Representative Charles Wilson, a Navy veteran, 
during burial services at Arlington National Cemetery Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Funeral Services For Charles WIlson @ Arlington National Cemetery 23 February 2010 PHOTO
Honor guard members hold an U.S. flag above the remains of former Texas Representative Charles Wilson, 
a Navy veteran, during burial services at Arlington National Cemetery Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Funeral Services For Charles WIlson @ Arlington National Cemetery 23 February 2010 PHOTO
Chaplain Lieutenant Commander John Miyahara presents the flag from the casket of former Texas Representative Charles 
Wilson, a Navy veteran, to his widow, Barbara Wilson, right, during burial services at Arlington National Cemetery Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Funeral Services For Charles WIlson @ Arlington National Cemetery 23 February 2010 PHOTO
Barbara Wilson, right, the widow of former Texas Representative Charles Wilson, listens to the playing of 
Taps during burial services for the Navy veteran, Tuesday, February 23, 2010, at Arlington National Cemetery

Funeral Services For Charles WIlson @ Arlington National Cemetery 23 February 2010 PHOTO
Barbara Wilson, the widow of former Texas Representative Charles Wilson, a Navy veteran, touches 
his casket during burial services at Arlington National Cemetery Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010

Webmaster: Michael Robert Patterson


Posted: 15 February 2010 Updated: 23 February 2010
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