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Col. (Ret.) Charles Henry “Hank” Wilson, III, 80, passed away Saturday, April 9, 2022, in his home in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. His beloved wife, Lela Ann Fisher Wilson, was by his side. Hank was the son of MG (Ret.) Charles H. Wilson, II, and Eloise Sears Wilson, who preceded him in death. Hank was born November 28, 1941, in Little Rock, Arkansas. He graduated from Jacksonville High School in 1959 and earned his bachelor’s degree and MSE in Chemistry from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia. There, he joined the ROTC and was commissioned into the US Army in May of 1963 as a 2nd Lieutenant. He served in Germany as Platoon Leader, 3rd Battalion 84th Artillery, and Executive Officer, Battery C 3rd Battalion 84th Artillery, responsible for the Pershing Missiles. He was discharged as a 1st Lieutenant.
After honorable discharge from active duty, he returned to Arkansas and continued his service with the Arkansas Army National Guard. He taught high school Chemistry at Ole Main High School in North Little Rock where he met his wife, Lela Ann Fisher, daughter of Lorene and Gabe Fisher of North Little Rock. They were married July 13, 1974, moved to Arkadelphia, and started a family.
Hank joined the Arkansas Army National Guard in 1967. He served in numerous roles and command positions with the Guard, including Battalion Commander of the 212th Signal Battalion, Aviation Safety Officer, Airfield Commander, and ending his Guard career as State Aviation Officer.
Hank achieved numerous awards and decorations, including the Meritorious Service Medal and Master Aviator. He began in the Guard as a Captain, ultimately earning the rank of Colonel. Hank was instrumental in planning, designing, and facilitating the construction of the new Arkansas Army Aviation Support Facility.
When Hank retired from the Guard in 1999, he joined the Aviation Department at Henderson State University as Flight Instructor, then Director of Flight Operations, and ultimately as Aviation Program Director, retiring in December 2011.
Hank is survived by his wife of 47 years, Lela, and his son Charles Henry Wilson, IV, and wife Emily of Austin, Texas, his daughter Lela Christine Glenn and husband Ben of Fayetteville, and his grandsons Henry and Seth Wilson, Fisher and Archer Glenn, and granddaughters Mattie and Lily Glenn. He is also survived by his sister, Rosalyn Huddleston and husband Billy of Arkadelphia, nephew Steve Huddleston and wife Jennifer, and niece Carrie Kuykendall, husband Kevin, and grandniece Alexa. Other survivors include brother-in-law Alva Fisher and wife Carolyn, niece Kelly Brown, nephew John Fisher, niece Lori Furnell; sister-in-law Cherry Stewman and Shelby of Pittsburgh, PA, and nephew Shannon Stewman and wife Maria and niece Cheney Altit and husband Roi; many grand-nieces and nephews, very close cousins, as well as countless other aviators, friends, and colleagues.
Visitation will be at Ruggles-Wilcox Funeral Home Chapel 5:30-7:30, Wednesday, April 13, 2022. Funeral services will be at 1:00 p.m. Thursday, April 14, at First Baptist Church in Arkadelphia, AR. Interment will follow at Rest Haven Memorial Gardens with full military honors. The family suggests that memorial contributions be made to MD Anderson Cancer Center, Buffalo River Foundation, First Baptist Church Arms Around Arkadelphia, or the organization of one’s choice.
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