Charley Ray Elliott was born July 28, 1931 in Naylor, Missouri to Ross Elliott and Louella Varner Elliott. Charley was their second Child. Their first child was a daughter, Sue. Then three years after Charley was born, they had a second son, Ivan.
Charley spent most of his life in Michigan, but his childhood was spent between Michigan and Florida because Charley’s parents were divorced when he was 6 years old. He related he attended 12 different schools and felt his education suffered because of living at time with his Mother and at the other times being with his Dad.
Charley told many stories of his childhood to me, which I thought was quite dangerous, but funny. Charley has so many stories to tell. Some were funny and some were challenges that he had to go through.
Charley and his brother, Ivan, and a couple of friends decided one day to skip school and instead, go swimming. They were having a great time when the truant officer caught up with them. He got a hold of two of the boys, but Charley hid behind a log until the officer left. At the time he decided to get out of hiding behind the long, only to find the log he was hiding behind was not a log, but actually an alligator. Needless to say, Charley made sure to be careful to check the waters before he jumped, after that shocking experience.
Charley was drafted into the Armed Forces during the Korean War. He spent October of 1952 through August of 1954 in the Army. He did his basic training in Missouri and after that spent more than a year in Korea.
Before entering the service, he married his sweetheart, Rose. They were married about a year when Charley had to leave for Korea.
A few months before his time was up in Korea, he was sent home because Rose had fallen and hit her head and died. This was a real heartache for Charley. He said he felt like opening the back door of the plane and jumping out, but he heard the Lord say to him, “Don’t do it, Charley”. As time went on, he bought a 30 acre farm which he enjoyed for 17 years. He also worked in several places.
The last place he worked was General Electric for 13 years.
He moved to Florida in the 1980’s in Pinellas County.
In 1999 he joined the Indian Rocks Baptist Church. He was baptized at Madeira Beach, which was the second time he was baptized. You see, Charley received Jesus Christ as His own personal Savior when he was a very young child and was baptized at that time. He told me that he wanted to be a preacher when he grew up. You see, he loved Jesus and wanted to tell others about Him.
I met Charley at Smiley’s, a ministry for singles of the Indian Rocks Baptist Church. We were introduced by Pastor Scott, who led the group. Charley loved to tell his stories of his life, and he found in me a good listener. Charley and I sat in Country Church Saturday nights anf then sat at a table at Smiley’s and sometimes Charley would invite me to go for a burger at Burger King – we did this for about a year and a half and then February, 2010 Charley asked me to marry him – actually he said, “I think you ought to marry me”. We were married March 28, 2010 here at the Suncoast Bible Presbyterian Church. We spent the next 4 years and 5 months together.
Charley loved his Savior, Jesus Christ, and loved going to church. We went Saturday nights to Indian Rocks Baptist, and Sunday morning to Suncoast Bible. He never wanted to miss any service. If he wasn’t well, he would make himself het ready and make himself go until the past few months of hi life. He would get ready to go to the Saturday night service, but would finally say, “I’m sorry, I don’t feel I can make it”. We would then watch the service together on the internet.
Charley loved everyone, especially my son, Sean and his wife, Jessica as if they were his own children.
Charley leaves his brother, Ivan and his wife, Edna, and some nieces and a nephew and leaves my brothers, Paul and Brian, and my sisters Judy Henault, Carole Boutilier and Joan Bissionnette and my nieces and nephews.
Charley’s last words to me were, “I’m waiting for someone to come.” I asked him, “Who are you waiting for?” He said, “Jesus.”
Written by wife, Ruth Elliott