Charles W. Coley, 71 died in Duke University Hospital on May 5, 2019 after an extended and brave battle with Pulmonary Fibrosis. He was born in Bladen County on November 18, 1947, and graduated from Elizabethtown High School in 1965.
Mr. Coley was the son of the late Z.K. Coley and Iola Brantley Coley. He is survived by one daughter, Tonya Davis, and two granddaughters, and three great grandsons, all of Clarkton, NC.; two sisters; Carolyn Coley London of Durham, NC, Shelby Jean Farrow, and a brother, Ronald Coley, of Elizabethtown. His sister, Fanny Coley Storms of Mint Hill, and his brothers Millard Wayne Coley, Sr. of Marshville, NC and Z.K. Coley, Jr. of Wake Forest, NC predeceased him.
Charles loved his family and adored his two great grandsons, Drake and Trace. He was a wonderful Husband, Father, Grandfather, and Brother, and friend. He provided us much joy and happiness. He will be sorely missed, but long remembered, by all who knew and loved him.
Mr. Coley worked in a variety of jobs including home improvement, logging, selling produce, and became known as the “watermelon man” around Bladen County. He continued to work even after it was determined by the VA that he was a 100 percent disabled combat veteran with two Purple Hearts.
While in the service in Viet Nam Charles was recognized for his many contributions. In November 1969 and in January 1970, he was awarded Air Medals with “V” device. These Awards were bestowed for acts of heroism against armed enemies. Charles was also recognized for valorous actions while serving as a Door Gunner with the 174th Aviation Company. He was recognized in March for ignoring heavy volumes of hostile fire directed against him; Specialist Coley continued to work in exposed areas until all casualties had been removed from the battlefield. Specialist Coley’s personal heroism, professional competence, and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service, and reflected great credit upon him, the Americal Division, and the United States Army.
Visitation will be at the Bright Funeral Home in Wake Forest, on Saturday, May 11, from 1-3 PM and burial will follow at the Coley-Gulley Family Cemetery near 1508 Coley Road.
A memorial service to celebrate his life and honor his numerous accomplishments will be held at a later date in Bladen County.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests that donations be made to the Free Will Baptist Children’s Home P.O. Box 249 Middlesex, NC, 27557, in honor of Charles W. Coley. His maternal grandparents donated the land for the children’s home in 1923.
A service of Bright Funeral Home & Cremation Center, 405 S. Main St., Wake Forest. (919) 556-5811