Farming Rural 01

Charles "Charlie" R. Wilber

January 18, 1932 ~ January 7, 2021 (age 88)

Obituary Image

Obituary

       A memorial gathering and visitation with the family present greeting friends will be held from 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM,   Saturday, January 16, 2021 at the Bachelor-Surber Funeral Home, Belleville, KS.   Everyone is welcome to come and share memories, but the family kindly requests masks and to practice social distancing at the visitation. 

       Charles (Charlie) Ray Wilber entered his eternal home on January 7, 2021, at the age of 88 years.  Charlie was the eldest son of Edith (Walters) and O.J. Wilber, born on the Wilber farm, near Rydal, northwest of Belleville, Kansas.  He passed from this life at the Belleville Health Care Center, where he resided the last year with his wife, Ruth. He will be welcomed home by his parents, his sisters, Phyllis (Walt) Beard, Esther Dorman, Alice (Jim) Davidson, his son, James, and his beloved daughter-in-law, Marti.  He will be missed by the love of his life, Ruth, two brothers, John, Harold (Karen); three daughters Becky (Craig) Lewis, Charlotte (Blake) Sullivan, Susan (Zach) Thomas, an “adopted” daughter, Sarah Taylor (Pete) Bergstrom, one son, Dan, and his grandchildren who he adores, Zach (Lindsay) Gagnon, Whitney (Casey) Schweninger, Lucas Bergstrom, Audrey Sullivan, Leah (Caleb) Gagnon-Lackey, Shane Sullivan, Sam Thomas, Cameron Wilber, Tobi Wilber, four great grandchildren, and a multitude of extended family members, friends, and neighbors.   

       Charlie grew up and worked on the farm, until 1951 when he entered the Army, where he served his country in the Korean War. While on a 3-day leave from Army bootcamp, prior to going overseas, he rushed home to marry Ruth Fraser.  Before agreeing to the marriage, Ruth’s parents, Ralph and Lela, and mostly Lela, told Charlie he had to accept the Lord and be baptized.  On July 29, 1951, Charles married his bride, Ruth, and on that same day gave his life to the Lord.  Both relationships were life-long bonds that were never separated.

        Charlie served in the 1st Calvary Division, Company B, 1st Battalion, 7th Calvary Regiment (Custer’s Unit) in the Korean War and received the following decorations:  National Defense Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, Korean Service Medal with three Bronze Stars, Combat Infantry Badge, Army of Occupation Medal, Infantry Unit Citation, and the Purple Heart.  When his service to his country was completed, Charlie and Ruth made their home on a farm, southwest of Belleville, that was originally settled in 1878 by Charlie’s great-grandfather, Adoniram Wilber.  Besides raising five bratty kids, Charlie grew wheat and alfalfa hay, but mostly focused his farm on the dairy business. He and Ruth named their farm Prairie Knoll and milked between 30 and 70 mostly brown swiss cows. Throughout the years, various nephews and local high school boys were “recruited” to help at the farm.   The entire family took part in the farm chores, but also enjoyed fun times, such as horseback riding, 4-H meetings and the county fair, school sports, and at least once a year, having a huge bonfire and roasting hot dogs, a cherished memory with his grandkids.  After he sold the dairy farm in the 70s, Charlie raised hogs, helped Ruth with milking goats, and gave lots of advice to Dan and Marti on raising beef cattle. Charlie also worked several years in maintenance and housekeeping at the Belleville Health Care Center and the Republic County Hospital.   

      Charlie was active in the Central Christian Church, serving as an Elder, Sunday School Teacher and Superintendent, and the church board president.  He loved his Jesus, and every year at Christmas, read the Christmas story from Luke at the family gathering.  Charlie was always an avid reader, always having several books in progress, along with his Bible and his atlas.  And he loved to engage in lively theological discussions with his kids and grandkids.  In later years, Charlie and Ruth enjoyed camping, actively involved in the local Good Sam’s Club, meeting his friends and neighbors for coffee at the Bel-Villa, and gathering for family reunions – the Wilber reunion at Rocky Pond and the annual Fraser “Party in the Pasture”.  Whether you were a family member, friend, or new acquaintance you were always welcome at Charlie and Ruth’s home. Whether it was camping, at the sale barn, meeting a prospective daughter or son-in-law, or working at the hospital, Charlie never met a stranger.  

      Charlie’s life was centered around  Jesus’ commandment, Love God and Love People. He loved the opportunity to talk with everyone he met.  At one of the most recent family Christmas readings, he stated, “There are a lot of good people in this world, and well, we know most of them.”

      A memorial gathering and visitation with the family present greeting friends will be held from 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM,   Saturday, January 16, 2021 at the Bachelor-Surber Funeral Home, Belleville, KS.   Everyone is welcome to come and share memories, but the family kindly requests masks and to practice social distancing at the visitation.

     A memorial service for family and friends will be announced at a later date in 2021.

     The family asks that memorials be given to Central Christian Church, Belleville Healthcare Center, Republic County Hospital Endowment, Meadowlark Hospice, or a charity of the giver’s choice.

     Online condolences at www.bachelor-surber.com

     Bachelor-Surber Funeral Home, Belleville, KS is in charge of the arrangements.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Charles "Charlie" R. Wilber, please visit our floral store.

 Service Program


Services

Memorial Gathering & Visitation with family greeting friends
Saturday
January 16, 2021

1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Bachelor-Surber Funeral Home
1322 19th Street
Belleville, KS 66935

Memorial services for family & friends will be held at a later date.

Please note
The family asks that memorials be given to Central Christian Church, Belleville Healthcare Center, Republic County Hospital Endowment, Meadowlark Hospice, or a charity of the giver’s choice.
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