Charles Ray Waites Sr., age 83 years and five months, was born Nov. 2, 1925, in North Venice, Ill., the son of James William and Myrtle Ellen (Berry) Waites, and passed from this life on Thursday, April 2, 2009, at the Cedar County Memorial Hospital in El Dorado Springs, Mo., after a lengthy health decline.
Charles spent most of his early life in the Madison, Ill./Ellisinore, Mo., areas until enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps at the age of 17. He served from 1942-1946 and then in the reserves from 1948-1952. Corporal Waites was stationed in the South Pacific for more than 30 months with no leave. He was the recipient of several medals of commendation including Expert Rifleman, Purple Heart, and was a member of the 60 Millimeter Mortar Special Weapons Unit. He was wounded on Peleliu. When not in combat he cooked for his fellow Marines. He was one of only a few that could say that he had twice crossed the equator. On Jan. 26, 1946, Corporal Waites was granted leave just long enough to hop a train to marry Miss Ada Marie Golden, in North Kansas City, Mo. The couple built a life together and reared two children, a son, Charles Ray Jr., and a daughter, Rhonda Kay. Charles worked as a Concrete Mason with Local 518 while Ada worked for Avon. In 1975, Charles semi-retired and he and Ada moved to Harwood, Mo., to make their home. He truly did enjoy his retirement by spending countless hours at the Schell-Osage Wildlife Area catching crappie or anything that might bite. Always an avid sportsman, he especially loved to hunt squirrel, rabbit, and deer.
Charles was a 58-year Masonic member, being inducted on April 15, 1951, was a member of Cement Masons Local 518, past member of the Blue Springs VFW, was a member of American Legion Post 499 in Blue Springs, Mo., and was baptized at a young age into the Assembly of God Pentecostal Church near his boyhood home.
Charles is survived by his wife of 63 years. Ada of the home in Harwoodi; one son, Charles Ray Waites Jr., of Blue Springs, Mo.; one daughter, Rhonda Kay McKinney and her husband Bill, of Harwood; three granddaughters Shelley Ranae Studdard and her husband Martin, of Raytown, Mo.; Monica Lynn Brickey and her husband Jason, of Independence, Mo.; and Brooke Nicole McKinney of Harwood; his one and only grandson and his "fishing buddy" Blake Colton McKinney, also of Harwood; four of the greatest great-grandchildren; Zoe Amelia Brickey, of Independence, and Sophia Justine Studdard, Olivia Paige Studdard, and Gabriel Ryan Studdard, all of Raytown; two sisters; Wanda Lassew, of Caseyville, Ill., and Vemette Longbottom, of Poplar Bluff Mo.; many nieces, nephews, other relatives, and many friends.
Of special mention is his best friend and constant companion, his dog Spunky.
Funeral services with masonic right for Charles Ray Waites Sr., were held at 2 p.m., Sunday April 5, at the Lewis-Hoagland Funeral Home, in Schell City, Mo., with the Rev. Harry Chronister officiating. Musical selections were provided by Connie (Lassen) Gillespie and LaVern (Lassen) Oalman. Pallbearers were: Blake McKinney, Tom Kruse, Ernie Kruse, Terry Miller; Martin Studdard, and Tony Crocker. Interment with military honors followed at the Green Lawn Cemetery in Schell City.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Schell City Volunteer Fire Department in care of the Lewis-Hoagland Funeral Home whom were entrusted with the arrangements for Mr. Waites.