Charles John “Chuck” Villa Sr., 87, of Hayes, said goodbye to family one final time at his home in Hayes on April 24, 2017.
The grandson of immigrants from Italy and Germany, Chuck was born in Paterson, New Jersey, on Oct. 17, 1929.
With a gleam in his eye and gregarious of heart, Chuck led a full and rich life, with his family as his pride and joy—his adored wife of 63 years, Mary Lou, and their five children, two grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, in-laws and extended family.
Chuck leaves a legacy of professional achievement and dedication to community service, especially in his adopted hometown of Gloucester.
An avid sailor, Chuck was at home in the water, whether navigating lakes Uncanoonuc and Sunapee in New Hampshire on family vacations, sailing the waters of Virginia with his “sidekick,” his granddaughter Katie, or throwing his crab pot from the marshy shore of Naxera or bodysurfing until age 85.
He was the son of Charles Villa, proprietor of the family fruit market, and Maybelle, an executive assistant for an aeronautical manufacturer, as well as the brother of a younger sister, Jackie. Young Charles took the daily train from Paterson to New York City to receive a Jesuit education at Xavier High School. He graduated in 1947 and in 1951 earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from Seton Hall University.
On June 6, 1953, Chuck married the love of his life, Mary Lou Grenon of Clifton, New Jersey. They had five children, each of whom Chuck was proud, who graduated from college and built successful lives for themselves, each in his or her own way.
Professionally, Chuck began his career in industrial relations and, to advance his career, earned a master of education in statistical analysis from Northeastern University.
Chuck worked in a variety of fields in human relations, ultimately serving as vice president of human relations in the textiles industry in New England. Capitalizing on his interpersonal relationship skills, Chuck embarked on a new phase in his professional life in the tourism industry, moving to Gloucester, where he owned and operated a family motel.
After selling the motel and retiring in 1987, Chuck focused on giving back to the community and enjoying his retirement. He was personally driven to be active in the community and to help others, including as a member of the Church of Saint Therese and as a volunteer for the local chamber of commerce, Rotary Club, Meals on Wheels, the sheriff’s department and the Gloucester-Mathews Care Clinic. As a lifelong Democrat, he was active in local politics.
Always busy with one project or another, Chuck also had a yearning for adventure. He traveled four times to Italy, enticed to embrace the land of his pioneering grandparents who had journeyed to America. Perhaps his fondest destination was Hawaii, where he snorkeled and kayaked at the foot of the Captain Cook monument. Upon moving south from the northeast, Chuck transferred his passionate allegiance from the New York Giants to the Carolina Panthers, always looking forward to traveling with family to “home games” seven hours away.
In Gloucester and wherever he went, Chuck was known by many, as was his custom to strike up conversation with all, making new friends and admirers.
Chuck is survived by his wife, Mary Lou; five children, Chuck Villa Jr. of St. George, Utah; Bob Villa (Ann Baker) of Richmond; Mary Kay Villa (Greg Nixon) of Newport News; Mark Villa, Ph.D., of San Diego, California, and Suzanne V. Glascock (Ned Glascock) of Hampstead, North Carolina; two grandchildren, Bill Conides (Tara Strong Conides) of Mandeville, Louisiana, and Katie Conides (Jonathan Avila, fiancé) of Denbigh; three great-grandchildren, Lucille, Maybelle and Maximus Conides of Mandeville, Louisiana, and numerous nieces and nephew.
The funeral liturgy conducted by the Rev. James Cowles was held on Saturday, April 29, 2017, at 10:30 a.m., at the Church of Saint Therese.
In Chuck’s memory, the Villa family requests that donations be made to either the Church of Saint Therese, 6262 Main Street, Gloucester, Va. 23061, or the Gloucester-Mathews Care Clinic, P.O. Box 684, Gloucester, Va. 23061.
Arrangements were under the direction of Hogg Funeral Home and Crematory, Gloucester Point. Please visit www.hoggfh.com to share condolences and memories with the family.