Charley Wales, 88, of Nevada, Mo., went to walk hand-in-hand with the Lord on his journey to Heaven on Dec. 27, 2011, in Nevada, following a battle with asbestos related lung cancer that he acquired while working in the heating and air conditioning business.
Charley was born on July 3, 1923, in Fair Play, Mo., to Emery Gaylord Wales and Mary Grace Harmon Wales. He attended grade school in Cedar County at Stony Point and Arcola, and then completed high school at Stockton in 1943. He and his father worked on farms around Cedar County during the years of the Depression. Charley worked for Lee Edge in the Prairie Valley, Landon Holeman in the O'Connor Prairie, and Mrs. Clark Montgomery of Stockton, mowed the school yard at Stockton, and worked tending gardens for several other families around Cedar County.
He was able to afford to buy a car while in high school and enjoyed trips to Stockton with his close friends, Gerald Wallen, Kyle Brown and Gerald's sister, Veryl Wallen Long, who often tagged-along with her big brother.
After graduating from high school, Charley joined the Army Air Corps where he received his radio operator training in Sioux Falls, S.D. He was soon deployed to the Pacific Theater of combat as a radio operator, aerial gunner and mechanic on B-24 bombers with the 307th Bomb Group-Long Rangers of the 13th Army Air Corps. He served in the Western Pacific, the South Philippines, New Guinea, Luzon, Bismarck, Archipelago, the North Solomon Islands and China, attaining the rank of Technical Sergeant. He received four medals while serving his country, of which he was very proud.
After the war he moved to Nevada, married Betty Lou Reedy and from that union were born two daughters, Jackie and Judy. He went to work for the Spillman Furnace Company until he started his own heating and air conditioning business on East Cherry Street in 1958. When the Missouri Highway Department acquired the land for the new highway and the Village Market was built in 1963, he moved his business to North Colorado Street, then later to his home. After 62 years in business he finally retired in 2010.
Charley was an artist when it came to sheet metal work. He made many signs for the Brown Sign Service Company, who later painted them and attached neon lighting. One sign is still in use at Rinehart Jewelry on West Cherry Street. He made his own flue caps, roof flashing and gutter and many are still in use atop the buildings around the square and neighborhoods in Nevada. He also made the flashing and some metal work for the courthouse and the steeple that still adorns the First Christian Church. Often times, W.F. Norman, of Norman Sheet Metal Company, would ask Charley to help with a special project or just work on his heating and cooling systems. Many homes, churches and businesses still have gutter, furnaces and air conditioners that Charley installed. On a new furnace, he would always leave a sticker that stated, "Furnace Fails - Call Wales."
If he needed a tool box, he just fashioned a pattern from sheet metal and made it himself. He needed a suitcase in the early 1950's, so he made one out of metal that is still in use today. He once made a boat that was used for many years until a wind storm felled a tree on it. He even made a muffler as an experiment, but it was too noisy for the legal limit of the 1960s.
Charley and Betty divorced in 1965 and he later married Mildred Moore Schnedler in 1968. Charley and Mildred liked to dance and attended square dances in Nevada and Fort Scott. They also liked to travel and enjoyed taking trips to the Gulf and West Coasts to visit family. They kept in touch with Charley's old army buddies and made several trips for reunions in Wisconsin and Ohio. They enjoyed camping and fishing at Stockton Lake, attending his Stockton High School class reunions and visiting with family and friends.
In later years you often saw Charley in a local restaurant enjoying a cup of coffee with buddies who met daily. He gradually slowed down, reduced the amount of work and finally retired at the age of 87.
Charley was not an openly religious man, but he kept the Lord close to his heart. He was a good man and will surely walk to the gates of Heaven.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Emma Jean McKibben; three stepsons, Roger Schnedler, Richard Schnedler and Rodney Schnedler.
He is survived by his wife, Mildred, of the home; two daughters, Jackie Wales and husband, Shawn Nichols, of Fortuna, Calif. and Judy Wales Nichols and husband, Darrel Nichols, of Stockton, Mo. He has three grandchildren, Tammy Miller Agee of Stockton, Chris Miller of Sedalia, Mo., and Michelle Hasiuk of Arcata, Calif. Also five great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren. He is also survived by two younger brothers, Elvin Lee Wales and wife, Joann, of Lubbock, Texas, and Donald Wales of Cathedral City, Calif.
He is survived by four stepchildren, Cheryl Lorenz of Fulton, Mo., Connie Martin of Columbia, Mo., Sandra Pippin of Nevada and Robert Schnedler and wife, Linda, of Nevada. He has seven stepgrandchildren, Lorrie Terrell and Tina McKee of Fulton, Mo., Clifton Salmons of Columbia, Mo., Joshua, Ashley and Jennifer Schnedler and Jessica Schnedler Oskvig of Nevada. Also, a daughter-in-law, Debbie Schnedler, wife of Richard, who is deceased.
Pallbearers are Jacob Agee, Tammy Miller-Agee, Willis Leonard, Chris Miller, Clifton Salmons, Bobby Schnedler, Joshua Schnedler and Lacie Schnedler. Honorary pallbearers are Elvin Lee Wales, Donald Wales, Bill McCaffree, Harold Moore and Vernon Brundridge.
A visitation will be held on Friday, Dec. 30, with family receiving friends from 6-7 p.m. The family will receive friends for a service to celebrate Charley's life at Ferry Funeral Home, in Nevada, at 1 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 31. Burial will be at Newton Burial Park, in Nevada with military honors. Donations may be made in memory of Charley for Disabled American Veterans of Missouri. Donations may be made in care of Ferry Funeral Home with attention to the DAV of Missouri.
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