Charles Gilkey I
1940 ~ 2022
Date of Death: May 4, 2022
In profound sadness, the staff of Veasley Funeral Home & Cremations, Inc. want to express our sincere condolences to the Gilkey family. Charles’ earthly temple is now resting in the care of Rowell-Parish Mortuary. Revelations 21:4 says, "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death; nor sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away." Be assured that in the days ahead you will surely gain strength from the memories of Mr. Charles Maurice Gilkey I.
Derrick Veasley ~ Director
Henry Veasley ~ Director
Pastor E.C. Maltbia ~ Chaplain
Charles Maurice Gilkey I was a blessing from God on Saturday, March 16, 1940 to the late Henry and Willie (Love) Gilkey in Plainview, Arkansas. He was as well called by God to take his eternal rest on Wednesday, May 4, 2022 from Ashdown, Arkansas. Also preceding him and resting in Heaven are four of his beloved brothers: James, Haze, Roy, and Henry, Jr. Gilkey.
Charles’ chosen path began with his graduation from L. W. Sullivan High School in Morrilton, Arkansas with the Class of 1958. He was the first black coach of a baseball team called the Dardanelle Blacks. He went on to further his education at Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, Texas as a pre-med student.
Charles entered military service with the Army in 1960 and went to Army Basic Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Kansas. He was trained and served as an infantryman and shipped to Korea after Basic Training and served in Co. A 1st Brigade 33rd Infantry APO 7th. His specialty in the infantry was light weapons. He was posted on the 38th parallel and his unit’s assignment was to protect the Demilitarized Zone from incursions from the North Koreans.
He separated from the active duty Army in 1962 but later rejoined the Army Reserve with the 95th Infantry Division out of Fort Chaffee, Arkansas in 1978. He was a platoon sergeant of Armored Personnel Carrier Infantry and the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle Infantry. He retired from the Army Reserve in 1995 with the rank of Sergeant First Class.
While in service, he was awarded the Army Service Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, the Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, and the Iron Man of Mentz Award. Charles married his high school sweetheart, Emma Louise Hayes. Three daughters were a perfect addition to their blessed family. Later in life, he married Ethel Jane Wade and was blessed with two sons. As life went on, he shared another part of his heart with a special lady, Sharon Michelle Jalaliddin, and to this union a precious fourth daughter joined the family.
Charles was a jack of all trades and very skilled with his hands. Some of his occupations included carpentry, brick laying, and contractor. He was one of the first African Americans hired to the Firestone plant in Russellville, Arkansas where he held a supervisor position.
Charles’ lifelong place of worship was Trinity United Methodist Church in Danville, Arkansas. When he moved to Fort Smith, he joined Mallalieu United Methodist Church; he served on the Board of Trustees and as a Lay Speaker. The church was later named Mission United Methodist Church.
Charles will be forever cherished and remembered by his two sons: Jason Gilkey of Fort Smith, Arkansas and Charles (Angela Wheeler) Gilkey II of Portland, Oregon; four daughters: Cynthia Gilkey of Wilton, Arkansas; Angela (Leroy) Allen of Overland Park, Kansas; Gwendolyn Gilkey of Scottsdale, Arizona and Audri Jalaliddin-Gilkey of Fort Smith, Arkansas; 11 grandchildren: LaShon (Nicholas) Bishop and Shanta (George) Allen all of Ashdown, Arkansas; Whitney Owens of Shreveport, Louisiana; Blake Gilkey of Scottsdale, Arizona; Antonio Graves of Fayetteville, Arkansas; Courtney Gilkey of Atlanta, Georgia; Angelica Pace, Angelique Allen, Chase Allen all three of Overland Park, Kansas; Brandon Hutson of Scottsdale, Arizona and Mila Nelson of Fort Smith, Arkansas; 8 great-grandchildren: George and Martaveis Allen, Braylon and Nicholas Bishop, Taniyah Allen, Serenioty Taylor, Corbin and Aubrie Graves; three brothers: Luther (Array) Gilkey of Russellville, Arkansas; Kenneth (Angela) Gilkey of Little Rock, Arkansas and Gerald (Stephania) Gilkey of Clarendon, Texas; four sisters: Betty (Richard) Taylor of Dardanelle, Arkansas; Ivory (Stephen) Pearson of Russellville, Arkansas; Mary Stroggins of Little Rock, Arkansas and Maxine (Haywood) Reed of Garland, Texas and a host of nieces, nephews, other family members, and friends.
Visitation will be Thursday, May 12, 2022 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Rowell-Parish Mortuary 611 North 9th Street Fort Smith, Arkansas 72901.
Celebration of life service will be held Friday, May 13, 2022 at 11 a.m. at Mission United Methodist Church 721 North 10th Street Fort Smith, Arkansas 72901.
Committal service and final resting place will be at the Fort Smith National Cemetery Fort Smith, Arkansas.